Watch this space

I had an idea for an Advent reflective resource on the theme ‘Watch this space’ and wrote it up originally for Advent Online, but it didn’t really fit the thematic structure for AO, so here it is now, in case it’s useful to those planning the rest of Advent and Christmas in church. As always, help yourself.

Bits and bobs for Advent

Here are some bits and pieces that might be useful for Advent. Starting with some pictures, and then some hymns.

line drawing of candle flame
Candle light

word art for the hymn, Hills of the North
Hills of the North

Line drawing of pregnant Mary

Painting of Mary and Elizabeth, both pregnant

Painting of advent wreath
Advent wreath

line drawing of Mary and the Holy Spirit as a dove


ADVENT HYMN (would work for late Advent)

Words of the prophets since the world began
So long before salvation’s human birth
Speaking of God’s tremendous loving plan
for heav’n to touch the long-estrangèd earth.

Those ancient words at last began to be
in flesh and skin and bone and blood unfurled
In maiden womb and half-made family –
so heaven stooped to touch a fallen world.

Amongst the stable beasts behind the inn,
the baby’s eyes saw first a mother’s love;
and though their world, like ours, was full of sin,
yet in their gaze the earth met heav’n above.

We cry aloud for peace, goodwill to all,
and for God’s heaven to touch his earth again,
We bend our ears to hear the angels’ call,
and raise our voice to join the great Amen.


ADVENT HYMN (tune: Picardy)

Longing for a hope-filled morning,
Kingdom of the Son, draw near!
Waiting for the day soon dawning,
Light of love that casts out fear.
Dayspring, come from heav’n, in lowly birth,
Come to warm this cold, dark earth.

Sorrow through the world is sweeping,
Bitter conflict rages still,
Heaven hears its children weeping:
cost of humankind’s freewill.
Come, O Price* of Peace, in lowly birth,
Come to mend this broken earth.

Pattern of the world’s salvation,
God and human side by side.
Colour, language, creed or nation,
No more should the world divide:
Come, Emmanuel, in lowly birth,
Show how heav’n embraces earth.

*This word started off as a typo, but I quite like it, as it echoes the ‘cost’ of the previous line…  If you use the hymn, you can choose whether to use Price or Prince   And thank you to the lovely Uptonpc for suggesting that Price could stay as an option!


to the tune ‘Father we place into your hands’

Mothers and fathers of the faith, who lived in times of old,
Leaders and judges, kings and queens were faithful, true and bold,
Travelers, heroes, shepherds, all with stories to be told:
Still they show us how to follow you.

Prophets and seers who spoke the truth in answer to your call,
finding new ways to bring your word to people great and small,
living their lives to show your love was meant for one and all,
still they show us how to follow you.

John, in the desert calling out, ‘The Kingdom has come near.’
‘Come and repent, and be baptised, there’s nothing then to fear.’
‘Jesus is coming now, the One you’re waiting for is here.’
Still he shows us how to follow you.

Mother of Jesus, angels called her favoured, full of grace,
Holding the Son of God, the Prince of Peace, in her embrace,
She is the one whose ‘yes’ helped God to save the human race,
still she shows us how to follow you.

And this last verse, for Christmas day, is by my friend and colleague Gill Robertson:

Jesus our Saviour, born a king, we welcome you today,
Lord of all time, Immanuel, with joyful hearts we say:
You are the Christ who came to earth for us; and now we pray,
Help us all to daily follow you.


ADVENT WREATH SONG – connecting the Jesse Tree / Salvation History pathways through Advent and the Advent Sunday theme of being alert and ready. (tune: Sing Hosanna)

There’s a story to tell of creation,
And the patriarchs’ faith of old,
There are stories of prophets and sages,
We’ll repeat them ‘til the world’s been told:

Sing together! sing together!
Sing to welcome in the King of Kings.
Sing together! Sing together!
Sing to welcome in the King.

There are stories of sin and forgiveness,
Of a Kingdom of truth and love.
Of a girl who gave birth to a baby,
To fulfil God’s promise from above:

As God’s people prepare for his coming,
And remember those days long gone,
Our own stories are yet to be written,
As we live to make God’s kingdom come:

We will patiently wait for the morning,
Through the night we will watch and pray,
As we look for the light that is dawning,
We’ll be ready at the break of day:

Ordination explored

Have you ever taken a small child to an ordination? It’s really important for children who have a significant adult being ordained to be able to take part and support that person at such a joyful and significant moment. It’s also really important to affirm that children are full members of the body of Christ- especially as we celebrate the way that God calls each of his people to ministries of different kinds.

But ordination services can be long, and while there’s lots going on, it may not feel very accessible to children.  To help children to engage with the ordination service and it’s themes, we* have put together some resources that you are welcome to download. These are:

  • An ‘Ordination Explored’ booklet containing pictures, questions, quizzes, and much more, which can be used during the service.
  • A ‘Churchy Jobs and Titles’ bingo sheet to help children work out who is who
  • A leaflet for parents with some ‘hints and tips’ for parents and carers for making the most of what is an amazing and joyful occasion

There are also some practical ideas to help cathedrals and DDOs to think about how they welcome children and families at what can be quite complicated occasions!

These files are available as .pdf files.  If you are printing them out, we recommend cream or light yellow paper, as this is generally most easily read by people with dyslexia or visual impairments. You should also be able to print out the resources twice the size if that would help. If you would like to receive the files in .docx format so as to be able to edit them for greater accessibilty, please email us using the contact details in the leaflets.

Ordination children’s booklet-3

Churchy jobs and titles bingo

Ordination Explored hints and tips for parents and carers

Ordination Explored hints and tips for cathedrals

New for 2019: the episcopal edition of the booklet, for those attending a consecration service – click here to see and download the new booklet.

The booklets were made by Elizabeth Lowson and Ally Barrett, with technical help from Dan Barrett. Lots of people helped us with good suggestions, and other people helped by testing the booklet out in real life.  We would like to say thank you to them all.

Lent Doodles: Fish

Here’s my second Lent doodle.  The idea here is that the fish all fit together precisely because they’re not the same as each other. In fact, some of the fish are downright weird looking and a little mis-shapen. But if they weren’t they wouldn’t fit in here, and more importantly, they’d be stopping other fish from fitting in.


Lent Doodle: The Boat

The Cambridge Theological Federation is taking part in a creative Lent project in which everyone is invited to respond (in words, music, art, photography etc) to any or all of the 76 biblical descriptions of the church.  Here’s the blog that’s collecting them all.

Here’s my first.  The idea is that the boat may look kind of small and far away and empty, but that’s OK because look at all the people who are fine about walking on water.

The Boat