Thoughts from the Vicarage 73

Dear Friends of the Valley

O Antiphons

We are at that time of year which sees the shortest day. And it coincides with the beginning of what are known as the ‘O Antiphons’. An antiphon being a short sentence sung or recited before a psalm or a canticle.

In the first centuries the Church had a beautiful custom of praying seven great prayers calling afresh on Christ to come, calling him by the mysterious titles he has in Isaiah, calling to him; O Wisdom, O Root, O Key, O Light, come to us!

I find them very beautiful and prepare us for the coming of Jesus. Here is yesterday’s

O Sapientia

O Wisdom, coming forth from the mouth of the Most High,
reaching from one end to the other mightily,
and sweetly ordering all things:
Come and teach us the way of prudence.

Malcolm Guite, a favourite poet of mine writes sonnets to go with each ‘O Antiphon’ – you may like to explore more


  • Services for the 4th Sunday in Advent are:
  • 8.00 am St Michael & All Angels Holy Communion Book of Common Prayer
  • 9.30 am St James the Greater Holy Communion
  • 11am St Michael & All Angels Eucharist
  • 6pm St Michael & All Angels Sacred music and readings by Candlelight

Christmas Services

Listen for the bells of Christmas!

St Michael & All Angels Lambourn no need to book a place – all welcome

Sunday 20th 11.00am 4th Sunday of Advent – we remember Mary
Sunday Dec 20th 6pm Traditional music and readings by candlelight
Dec 24th Christmas Eve 11pm Midnight Mass
Dec 25th Christmas Day 10.30 am to welcome the birth of Jesus

St James The Greater

Sunday 20th 9.30 am 4th Sunday of Advent – we remember Mary
Christmas Day Service with Holy Communion 10.30 – please book a place via Jenny or Fiona

All Saints East Garston

Christmas Day Service with Holy Communion 9.00 – please book a place via Karen.

Lambourn CE Primary school

On Wednesday Lambourn CE Primary school visited St Michael & All Angels class by class to worship, to hear the story of the shepherds, to be the heavenly host and finally as shepherds they knelt and adored the baby born in a manger. They then processed to the West door where they hung their own angels on the majestic tree kindly donated by David Proud. It was very poignant and moving worship culminating with each class receiving a Christmas blessing. Thank you to all who enabled this to take place safely.

And as you can see, the heavenly host gathered on the altar played their part! Thank you to all those who contributed to the heavenly host … all different sizes, colours and shape – just like us. As messengers of God they brought much comfort and joy and my prayer is that we too may be angels bringing comfort and joy to others.

Speaking of children reminds me of The Childrens’ Society. Brian Fletcher asks if any boxholders to let me have their boxes for counting and remittance of the donations to the society. I do have some new boxes for anyone who wishes to have one for 2021 and I will bring them along on Sunday. Donations can of course be made direct to the society online.

As children break up from school feeding them becomes an almost non-stop business! Please remember the West Berks foodbank and the foodbank in Lambourn at this Christmas period as we are aware that many people are relying on foodbanks at this time. Every little donation is gratefully received.


Talking of donations – it’s not an easy subject to raise at this time but if you are in a position to continue donating towards the work of God in any of our churches – thank you and please do continue. There are Freewill Offering envelopes and Parish Giving schemes in operation and please don’t hesitate to ask if you’d like to donate in this way or gift aid your donation. If you aren’t quite sure how to go about this please do get in touch confidentially with me and I’ll point you in the right direction.

And a Thought for our time

I will light candles this Christmas.
Candles of joy, despite all the sadness.
Candles of hope where despair keeps watch.
Candles of courage where fear is ever present.
Candles of peace for tempest-tossed days.
Candles of grace to ease heavy burdens.
Candles of love to inspire all of my living.
Candles that will burn all the year long.

And finally a prayer

Loving God,
you search us out, and wait for us.

Steadfast God,
you call us by name, and wait for us.

Patient God,
you wipe away our tears, and wait for us.

Be with us as we, in turn, wait for your Son,
our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen

May this Advent be a blessing to you and your families.

God bless