Please stand.

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here,
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice, rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, thou rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
From depths of hell thy people save,
And give them vict’ry o’er the grave.
Rejoice, rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, thou dayspring, come and cheer
Our spirits by thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice, rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, thou key of David, come
And open wide our heav’nly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice, rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, O come, thou Lord of might,
Who to the tribes on Sinai’s height
In ancient time didst give the Law,
In cloud and majesty and awe.
Rejoice, rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Words: from the ‘Great O Antiphons’ (12th-13th century)
translated by J. M. Neale (1818-1866)
Music: adapted by T. Helmore (1811-1890)
from a French Missal arr. C. Hand (1929-2015)

It is time for us to wake out of sleep,
for deliverance is nearer to us now
than it was when first we believed.
It is far on in the night; day is near.
Let us therefore cast off the deeds of darkness
and put on our armour as soldiers of the light.

The grace and peace of God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you

and also with you.

My brothers and sisters,
we enter today the solemn season of Advent in which the Church bids us prepare to celebrate the coming of Christ;
a coming that we recall in the Child of Bethlehem;
a coming that we experience in the gift of his Spirit,
in the bread of the Eucharist,
in the joy of human lives that are shared;
a coming we wait for when God gathers up all things in Christ.

Let us in this holy season
reflect on the coming of Christ who brings light to the world.

Let us leave behind the darkness of sin,
walk in the light that shines on our path,
and renew within ourselves
the hope of glory to which he beckons us.

And as we turn towards the light,
let us have on our hearts all those who see no light,
for whom all is darkness and despair.

Let us pray that they too may be illumined by Christ who is our light.

The whole congregation prays silently, after which the president draws the prayers together in the Collect of Advent Sunday.

Almighty God,
give us grace to cast away the works of darkness
and to put on the armour of light,
now in the time of this mortal life,
in which your Son Jesus Christ came to us in great humility;
that on the last day,
when he shall come again in his glorious majesty
to judge the living and the dead,
we may rise to the life immortal;
through him who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.


Zechariah 9.9,10

Rejoice greatly, your king comes to you.

(Read by a member of Colton Methodist Church)

Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem!
Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he,
humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
He will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war-horse from Jerusalem;
and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall command peace to the nations;
his dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.


Lo, he comes with clouds descending,
Once for favoured sinners slain;
Thousand, thousand saints attending
Swell the triumph of his train.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Christ appears, on earth to reign.

Ev’ry eye shall now behold him
Robed in dreadful majesty;
We who set at naught and sold him,
Pierced and nailed him to the tree,
Deeply wailing, deeply wailing, deeply wailing,
Shall the true Messiah see.

Those dear tokens of his passion
Still his dazzling body bears,
Cause of endless exultation
To his ransomed worshippers:
With what rapture, with what rapture, with what rapture
Gaze we on those glorious scars!

Yea, amen! let all adore thee,
High on thine eternal throne;
Saviour, take the pow’r and glory,
Claim the kingdom for thine own.
O come quickly, O come quickly, O come quickly! Alleluia! Come, Lord, come!

Words: C. Wesley (1707-1788)
Music: from J. Wesley’s ‘Select Hymns with Tunes Annext’ (1765)

Jeremiah 23.5,6

I will raise up for David a righteous branch.

(Read by a member of Manston St James Church)

The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. And this is the name by which he will be called: “The Lord is our righteousness.”

Psalm 118.19-29

(Sung by the Choir)

Open me the gates of righteousness:
That I may go into them and give thanks unto the Lord.
This is the gate of the Lord:
The righteous shall enter into it.
I will thank thee for thou hast heard me:
And art become my salvation.
The same stone that the builders refused:
Is become the head-stone in the corner.
This is the Lord’s doing:
And it is marvellous in our eyes.

This is the day which the Lord hath made:
We will rejoice and be glad in it.
Help me now O Lord:
O Lord send us now prosperity. 
Blessèd be he that cometh in the Name of the Lord:
We have wished you good luck
ye that are of the house of the Lord.
God is the Lord who hath shewèd us light:
Bind the sacrifice with cords
yea even unto the horns of the altar.
Thou art my God and I will thank thee:
Thou art my God and I will praise thee.

O give thanks unto the Lord for he is gracious:
And his mercy endureth for ever.

Glory be to the Father:
And to the Son and to the Holy Ghost:
As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be:
World without end. Amen.

Music: E. C. Bairstow (1874-1946)

Isaiah 9.2,6,7

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light.

(Read by a member of Blessed John Henry Newman Parish)

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;
those who lived in a land of deep darkness— on them light has shined.
For a child has been born for us, a son given to us;
authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named
Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace
for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it
with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and for evermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.


The people that in darkness sat
A glorious light have seen;
The light has shined on them who long
In shades of death have been.

To hail thee, Sun of Righteousness,
The gath’ring nations come;
There joy as when the reapers bear
Their harvest treasures home.

For unto us a Child is born,
To us a Son is giv’n,
And on his shoulder ever rests
All pow’r in earth and heav’n.

His name shall be the Prince of Peace,
The everlasting Lord,
The Wonderful, the Counsellor,
The God by all adored.

His righteous government and pow’r
Shall over all extend;
On judgement and on justice based,
His reign will have no end.

Words: J. Morrison (1750-1798) based on Isaiah 9. 2-7
Music: melody from ‘Psalms’, Edinburgh (1615)
Hymn Tune: DUNDEE

Isaiah 7.10-15

Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son.

(Read by a member of Christ Church, Halton)

Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, saying, Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven. But Ahaz said, I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test. Then Isaiah said: “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary mortals, that you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel. He shall eat curds and honey by the time he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good.



Creator of the stars of night,
Thy people’s everlasting light,
O Jesu, Saviour of us all,
Regard thy servants when they call.


Thou, grieving at the bitter cry
Of all creation doomed to die,
Didst come to save a ruined race
With healing gifts of heav’nly grace.


Thou camest, Bridegroom of the bride,
As drew the world to evening-tide,
Proceeding from a virgin shrine,
The Son of Man, yet Lord divine.


At thy great name, exalted now,
All knees must bend, all hearts must bow,
And things in heav’n and earth shall own
That thou art Lord and King alone.


To thee, O holy One, we pray,
Our judge on that tremendous day,
Preserve us, while we dwell below,
From ev’ry onslaught of the foe.


All praise, eternal Son, to thee,
Whose advent sets thy people free,
Whom with the Father we adore,
And Spirit blest, for evermore. Amen.

Words: 7th century Latin translated by J. M. Neale (1818-1866)
Music: Plainsong melody

Romans 12.1,2; 13.11-14

Salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.

(Read by a member of Blessed John Henry Newman Parish)

I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect. Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armour of light; let us live honourably as in the day, not in revelling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarrelling and jealousy. Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.


People, look East

(Sung by the Choir)

People, look East, the time is near
Of the crowning of the year.
Make your house fair as you are able,
Trim the hearth, and set the table.
People, look East, and sing today:
Love the Guest is on the way.

Furrows, be glad, though earth is bare,
One more seed is planted there:
Give up your strength the seed to nourish,
That in course the flower may flourish.
People, look East, and sing today:
Love the Rose is on the way.

Stars keep the watch when night is dim
One more light the bowl shall brim,
Shining beyond the frosty weather,
Bright as sun and moon together.
People, look East, and sing today:
Love the Star is on the way.

Angels, announce to man and beast
Him who cometh from the East.
Set every peak and valley humming
With the word, the Lord is coming.
People, look East, and sing today:
Love the Lord is on the way.

Words: E. Farjeon (1881-1965)
Music: Besançon carol melody arr. M. Archer (b. 1952)

Matthew 25.1-13

Keep awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

(Read by a Member of St. Philip’s Church, Osmondthorpe)

Jesus said “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise replied, ‘No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I do not know you.’ Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.


Ye servants of the Lord,
Each for his coming wait,
Observant of his heav’nly word,
And watchful at his gate.

Let all your lamps be bright,
And trim the golden flame;
Gird up your loins as in his sight,
For awesome is his name.

Watch! ’tis your Lord’s command,
and while we speak, he’s near;
Mark the first signal of his hand,
And ready all appear.

O happy servants they,
In such a posture found,
Who share their Saviour’s triumph day,
With joy and honour crowned.

Christ shall the banquet spread
With his own royal hand,
And raise each faithful servant’s head
Amid th’angelic band.

Words: P. Doddridge (1702-1751)
Music: melody from J. Leisentritt’s ‘Catholicum Hymnologium Germanicum’ (1584)
adapted by W. H. Havergal (1793-1870)
Hymn Tune: NARENZA

Prayers of Intercession

concluding with the Lord’s Prayer introduced with these words:

As we await the coming of our King, 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.


The night is far spent, the day is at hand.
Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness
and put on the armour of light.
Come, O Lord, comfort the soul of your servant.

Even so, Lord, come.

O Lord Jesus Christ, come
at evening time, with light,
and in the morning, with your glory,

to guide our feet into the way of peace.

He who receives our prayers says:
Surely I come quickly.
I am the root and offspring of David,
I am the bright and morning star.

Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

Please join us for refreshments after the service in the Community Centre.

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O come, O come, Emmanuel
Musical arrangement © Kevin Mayhew Ltd

Psalm 118 verses 19-29
Music © The Royal School of Church Music

People, look East
© Oxford University Press

Organ voluntary
© Kevin Mayhew Ltd

CCL licence: 668063