Angel Wings & Hands


We hang Angels on our Christmas Trees…

May Angels be a reminder to us of the messages and the foretelling of the Messiah who was to come; the Angels remind us of the messages to Mary, to Joseph, to the Shepherds, may that message of Good News be lived out in our lives each day.

We light our second candle as a reminder of the messages of the Angels and the promise held within.



Advent God as we journey in Advent, may we listen amid the frenetic voices for the message of the Angels and the promise of the Kingdom.  May the flickering of our candle focus our minds and still our thoughts and help us to know the Angels message. Amen

Hymn H&P 92 v1 & chorus – Angels from the realms of glory

  Angels, from the realms of glory,
  wing your flight o'er all the earth;
  you who sang creation's story,
  now proclaim Messiah's birth:
  Come and worship,
  Christ the new-born King,
  come and worship,
  worship Christ, the new-born King.


Hymn – 81 – Come, thou long-expected Jesus

   1  Come, thou long-expected Jesus,
  born to set thy people free,
  from our fears and sins release us,
  let us find our rest in thee.

  2  Israel’s strength and consolation,
  hope of all the earth thou art,
  dear desire of every nation,
  joy of every longing heart.

  3  Born thy people to deliver,
  born a child and yet a king,
  born to reign in us for ever,
  now thy gracious kingdom bring.

  4  By thine own eternal Spirit
  rule in all our hearts alone;
  by thine all-sufficient merit
  raise us to thy glorious throne.

Charles Wesley (1707–1788)

Prayer of adoration & confession

Advent God, 
you prepared your people for your coming, 
you gave your Word to us through prophets and priests, 
through stories told and retold, 
through the history of time, 
through the written word, 
through the spoken word, 
but always your word. 
As Christmas lights begin to shine from our homes and in our streets, 
we know that your glory is coming, and is already here. 
Advent God, we adore you, and we bring ourselves before you just as we are. Amen.

We confess there are signs of God all around us and we are blind to them, 
there are voices that cry out and we close our ears to them,
there are signs of people’s need and we do not see them,
and cries of those in pain and we pass them by.

There are signs of God’s kingdom to be seen,
and the voice of the Holy Spirit to be heard:
O God, forgive us when we ignore you 
and ignore our neighbours, near and far. Amen.

God spoke through Zechariah, saying, ‘Tell the people: they will be saved by the forgiveness of their sins.’
God’s promises endure for ever and ever;
so, let us be assured, our sins are forgiven. 


Benedictus (The Song of Zechariah) – H&P 825

  1  Blessed be the Lord the God of Israel,
  who has come to his people and set them free.

  2  He has raised up for us a mighty Saviour,
  born of the house of his servant David.

  3  Through his holy prophets God promised of old
  to save us from our enemies,
  from the hands of all that hate us,

  4  To show mercy to our ancestors,
  and to remember his holy covenant.

  5  This was the oath God swore to our father Abraham:
  to set us free from the hands of our enemies,

  6  Free to worship him without fear,
  holy and righteous in his sight
  all the days of our life.

  7  And you, child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High,
  for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way,

  8  To give his people knowledge of salvation
  by the forgiveness of all their sins.

  9  In the tender compassion of our God
  the dawn from on high shall break upon us,

 10  To shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,
  and to guide our feet into the way of peace.

  Glory to the Father and to the Son
  and to the Holy Spirit;
  as it was in the beginning is now
  and shall be for ever.  Amen.


Malachi 3:1-4

The Coming Messenger

3See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight—indeed, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. 2But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears?

For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap; 3he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the Lord in righteousness. 4Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.

Luke 3:1-6

The Proclamation of John the Baptist

3In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was ruler of Galilee, and his brother Philip ruler of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias ruler of Abilene, 2during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. 3He went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, 4as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah,
‘The voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
 make his paths straight. 
5 Every valley shall be filled,
 and every mountain and hill shall be made low,
and the crooked shall be made straight,
 and the rough ways made smooth; 
6 and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” ’


We often say that people are angels when they help us.  Does anyone know an angel?  What are they like?

What sorts of angels are there? 

Cherubs, a host of angels, guardian angels, fallen angels.  Today, as our Bible reading introduces us to John the Baptist, we are thinking about the messenger, who prepares the way for Jesus.  If we think about the angels in the Christmas story – appearing to Mary, to Joseph and then to the shepherds -  they were not cute, chubby cherubims but images of terror.  The angel appearing to Mary said “Do not be afraid….”, and to the shepherds, “Do not be afraid….”.  The Christmas angels were not cuddly, but came, revealing God’s awesome power, to bring such an important message, that they had to make people sit up and take notice.  They too, were messengers.

In our reading from Malachi, he prophesies about a coming messenger, as does Isaiah elsewhere in the Old Testament.

In contrast to the angels, this messenger was anything but awesome.  John the Baptist was born just a few months before Jesus, and we don’t hear much more about him, until just before Jesus is baptised, when this unkempt, ragged figure emerges from the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.  The contrast with the angels, all white and glowing, could hardly be more extreme. But I am guessing he could well have been just as alarming!

The angels came with a message to particular people, but Importantly, John’s message is to “all flesh”, all people. 

Christmas is a great time for talking to people about Jesus.  They are more open to the message of Jesus now than at any other time of the year.  Yesterday we welcomed a lot of people into the chapel, some of whom might not have been inside a church since last Christmas, but were enticed inside by the time of year, and a bacon butty!  People are willing to sing Carols in the street at Christmas, who wouldn’t dream of singing a hymn at any other time of the year.  But what happens after Christmas is over and the decorations have been packed away?

January might be a difficult month this year, as we prepare to close the Radstock church, but with February comes a new start for Trinity, and, as John the Baptist warns, we need to be prepared.

How are we going to go about the task of being messengers of the good news of Jesus Christ in this community?  We need to start to think about that, and start getting prepared.  Are we going to create a dramatic entrance like the angels, which would be awesome, but a little scary?  Or are we going to appear from the wilderness, a little dishevelled and unkempt, but passionate about our message of the need for repentance, which might also be a little scary?  Or are we going to take a similar approach to Paul, of gathering like-minded people together, and pastorally explaining what it means to be followers of Christ?  Or perhaps a combination of all three!

The prophets spoke of a messenger, who would prepare the way for the Lord.  2000 years ago, John the Baptist was that messenger.  Today, we are the messengers.  How are we going to go about fulfilling our God-given task, “that all flesh shall see the salvation of God”?


Let us pray

Lord, give us a vision of how we can prepare the way for you, how we can fill in the potholes, and smooth out the twists and turns, the lumps and bumps in the road, so that all flesh may see your salvation, and come to know you as Saviour.  Amen

Prayers for others

As we have lit candles to celebrate Advent and as we have reflected on your words so, Lord God, our thoughts turn now beyond our needs, to those whose cries and anguish trouble and disturb us.

For those who trudge through strange lands looking for guidance with hope for a better future, straddling borders; 
for those who have nothing but what they stand in and walk with;
for those who risk life and limb in fragile boats seeking escape from poverty and tragedy.

Lord, in your mercy - Hear our prayers.

For the homeless nearer to home who have no walls to shelter them, no safety to protect them, no warmth from the winter weather, no family to support them and little hope for a settled future.

Lord, in your mercy - Hear our prayers.

For those who live with hunger, not just of the spirit, but of the body;
for those families who can’t manage proper meals and nutrition, who eek out the pennies the best they can;
for those who have the courage to seek foodbank help and for those who greet and meet them when they reach out for the food that is given;

Lord, in your mercy - Hear our prayers.

For families impacted by Covid and all its ramifications;
for those for whom the illness itself has deprived them of health and well-being;
for those who have seen family and friends lose their battles for life and will have an empty seat at the Christmas table;
for those who are fearful of vaccines, those unable to have vaccines, those deprived of vaccines, those who develop and deliver vaccines.

Lord, in your mercy - Hear our prayers.

For those who have never heard the message of Advent hope, who have never encountered the presence of the Christ child, who have never felt their hearts moved by the Christmas story of Emmanuel, God with us. 

Lord, in your mercy - Hear our prayers.

We pray for your church in the world,

for the North East Somerset & Bath Circuit, of which we are a part, for it’s ministers, lay workers, churches and congregations – especially this week we join with the Circuit as we pray together for Bathampton and Beechen Cliff, and their ministers, Simon Topping & Jan Tate

We pray for our friends who are unwell, and their families who are supporting them, and for all those we know and love …………

And we pray for ourselves


God of all, we ask on behalf of all those in need.


The Lord’s Prayer

Let us pray with confidence as our Saviour has taught us


Our Father, who art in heaven,

hallowed be thy name;

thy kingdom come;

thy will be done;

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses,

as we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation;

but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom,

the power, and the glory

for ever and ever.



Hymn – 610 – I come with joy to meet my Lord

   1  I come with joy, a child of God,
  forgiven, loved, and free,
  the life of Jesus to recall,
  in love laid down for me.

  2  I come with Christians far and near
  to find, as all are fed,
  the new community of love
  in Christ's communion bread.

  3  As Christ breaks bread, and bids us share,
  each proud division ends.
  The love that made us, makes us one,
  and strangers now are friends.

  4  The Spirit of the risen Christ,
  unseen, but ever near,
  is in such friendship better known,
  alive among us here.

  5  Together met, together bound
  by all that God has done,
  we'll go with joy, to give the world
  the love that makes us one.

Brian Wren (b. 1936)


Holy Communion for Advent 

Hymn – 84 – On Jordan’s bank the Baptist’s cry

  1  On Jordan’s bank the Baptist’s cry
  announces that the Lord is nigh;
  awake and hearken, for he brings
  glad tidings from the King of kings!

  2  Then cleansed be every life from sin;
  make straight the way for God within,
  and let us all our hearts prepare
  for Christ to come and enter there.

  3  For you are our salvation, Lord,
  our refuge, and our great reward;
  without your grace we waste away
  like flowers that wither and decay.

  4  To heal the sick stretch out your hand,
  and bid the fallen sinner stand;
  shine forth, and let your light restore
  earth’s own true loveliness once more.

  5  To God the Son all glory be
  whose advent sets his people free,
  whom, with the Father, we adore,
  and Holy Spirit, evermore.

John Chandler (1806–1876)



Christ the Sun of Righteousness

shine upon you

and prepare your hearts and souls

to meet him when he comes in glory;

and the blessing of God,

the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,

be yours, now and always.  Amen.

The day of the Lord is surely coming.

Be faithful in worship,

unwavering in hope,

fervent in the work of God’s kingdom

and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.


Amen.  Come, Lord Jesus.

Rev. Martin Slocombe

CCLI Licence 354889


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