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Advent Reader

Advent Reader

12 meditations on the Christmas story by members of our Canadian Baptist family

Š 2012 CBOQ

Introduction “Go away. There’s no room for you here.” As part of Las Posadas, a Hispanic Christmas tradition, homeowners pretend to turn away groups of friends and family who come knocking at their doors. Finally, they’re persuaded to let in the visitors, who represent Mary and Joseph. Advent is a time to make room, either spiritually or physically, for Jesus and for guests. The opportunities to both prepare and invite are numerous: forgiving someone who has hurt us, telling the story of God’s love, lingering in prayer, hearing or making beautiful music, or celebrating all that God is doing in our lives. Most of all, these weeks mark the opportunity to make more room in our lives for Jesus, the Christ Child, our Lord. The world in which we live generates so much distraction and disenchantment. However, the Kingdom of God—on earth as it is in Heaven— presents the fascinating glory of the manger as the climax of all previous divine interventions. “The Creator of the universe…has been preparing a place for himself throughout generations of those who have been willing to grant him room.” (Jim Houston)

Grant Him room? Do we have time or space to actually do this? We have parties to attend, Christmas pageants to plan, gifts to buy, food to prepare. Every year, I find it difficult to find time to enter into the mystery of Christmas. So to help make space for the wonder of the Incarnation, we’re pleased to share this Advent Reader with you. It covers the last portion of Advent with 12 different meditations from members of our extended Baptist family. These meditations are intended to be read on each of the 12 days before Christmas, starting Friday, December 14. Consider making it a habit to check back every day and read a meditation before starting work. Or print off a copy and keep it by your bedside table. Our thanks to all those who took the time to write these articles and help us enter into this familiar story in fresh ways. We pray this Advent Reader will enable us all to prepare room for the mystery of God with Us as never before. Tim McCoy Executive Minister Canadian Baptists of Ontario and Quebec

Sun in

n the Hollow by Gene Tempelmeyer of Spring Garden Baptist Church •

Advent - Past, Present, and Future Now that the sights and sounds of Christmas have trickled back into October, I go to church in December ready for sheep, shepherds and angels. So, when the scripture readings include passages on the second coming of Christ, it feels like a distraction. I’m ready for “O Holy Night” but the pastor, apparently, has a wider-ranging perspective —and rightly so. Long ago, Christian leaders recognized that preparing for Jesus’ coming has more than one dimension. It is an annual celebration of the coming of the Christ-child; it is an acknowledgment of his coming to us each day; and, it is a reminder of his promise to come again. Full preparation for the coming of Christmas includes all three of these elements. Hope weaves all three together into the fabric of Advent. In Old Testament times, singers, prophets and priests spoke of the Messiah who would come to deliver God’s people. They waited. Hope was the saving grace of those days when the period of waiting seemed endless.

December 14

Today, followers of Jesus face their daily challenges, longing and hoping for the presence of the risen Christ. That hope and prayer is the saving grace of life here and now. Injustice, estrangement and brokenness are everywhere, but Jesus comes and walks with us through the chaos. As for the future, reminded of his promise to come again, we continue to pray with hope. Surely, he will come to finish the redeeming work he has begun— the redemption of all things. Our confidence in this hope means that none of our efforts toward improving our world will be meaningless. We do not know all the details, but we know he does all things well. Even so, come Lord Jesus. As you read through these Advent meditations each day, I pray that you would discover this abiding hope where you need it most. And I especially urge those among us who preach and teach to push us to broaden our understanding of Advent—even as we hurry toward Bethlehem’s manger. Gary Walsh McMaster Divinity College

Christ Within Me

When I look back, I can only smile and know beyond a shadow of doubt that the hand of God is on us. I have had the amazing opportunity of carrying the Son of God within me. I couldn’t believe what had happened. Why would the Lord send an angel to me? I was just an ordinary girl. I didn’t understand what was happening. As reality finally sunk in, the peace I had in the beginning faded to fear. I realized that I had just received the world’s greatest blessing and curse. A thousand questions echoed in my mind: What would happen to my relationship with my fiancé? What if the village found out and stoned me? Would my family hate and reject me? Would I face a lifetime of shame and embarrassment? I didn’t have the answers, but one night I decided to follow my ancestor Rahab’s example and simply trust in my Lord. As I leaned on God, the next nine months were an emotional roller coaster. I went from moments of absolute excitement and awe to total fear of the unknown. I realized that I had the oncein-a-lifetime opportunity to assist my Lord in bringing about a miracle. Not only was I carrying a child, but I could actually feel God’s Chosen Son within me. This pregnancy was the most mysterious and wonderful feeling I’d ever known. During the first few months there were so many changes to my body. Yet as the flutters, kicks and rolls began, I could actually feel the child within me move. I was in awe. I was carrying the Holy One.

December 15

At first I couldn’t recognize his movements, yet as He grew, it was undeniable. I could feel tiny nudges prodding me from the inside out. What started with the sensation of a light tickle, as if someone ran a fingertip gently on my skin, became progressively harder, and much more painful kicking. Each kick beat out a reminder of the angel’s prophetic words I received so many months ago. I had Christ within me. Many couldn’t even conceive of this idea, yet I was actually experiencing it. And when he finally came, I saw God’s plan grow up right before my eyes. I didn’t understand how hard this journey was going to be and what it would mean. Yet I knew no matter the cost, every step would be worth it. I wonder what this will mean for all those who come after me, thousands of years later? I wish I could tell them what it feels like to have the Son of God within. I wish they could actually experience his prodding, nudges, and kicks. I know am the only person who will ever have Christ physically within me, but I pray they will not miss the privilege and joy of having Christ born within them in Spirit. God of Surprises, I pray that all your people will learn to recognize your movements—both subtle and strong. May they share in the joy of letting you work through them to perform miracles beyond our imagining. Christiane Rutledge Centennial Park Baptist Church

The Prophets

During the Christmas season we are invited to reflect on the historical roots of our faith. The prophet Isaiah delivered his message eight centuries before the birth of Jesus. His words still have the capacity to break through the noise of the season and attract our attention. 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. (Is 9:6-7) This was not the message of a mystic who lived on a mountaintop or in the seclusion of a monestary. Isaiah lived in Jerusalem. He was concerned about people who had been pushed to the breaking point. A small minority of elite families used their power and violence to enhance their wealth at the cost of the majority of people. Isaiah accused the elders and princes of crushing the poor and grinding their faces in the dirt (Is. 3:14-15). God expected justice and righteousness from the nation but instead was confronted by bloodshed in the streets and the weeping of innocent victims (Is. 5:7). The pain of internal oppression was further increased by the growing threat of Assyria’s imperialistic ambitions and powerful armies (Is 5:26-30).

December 16

Isaiah was a person of deep faith and courage. His words convey a longing for a different kind of world and a certainty that God will intervene on behalf of those who suffer without power. God will act through the birth of a child (Is. 7:14). The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him (11:2) and he will be the ideal leader for those who live on the margins of despair. He will act with God’s authority to establish a rule of justice and righteousness (Is. 11:7). Isaiah looks forward to a time when the uniforms and boots of soldiers can be burned as fuel (Is. 9:5), when the wolf can lie with the lamb (Is. 11:6) and when the earth is full of the knowledge of the Lord (11:9). Christmas this year confronts us with the inequities, cruelty and uncertainties of our time in history. Every day we hear of painful conflicts, the fragile global economy, growing levels of hunger, and deep social divisions. The Christmas message is an invitation to give our hearts and allegiance to the leader who was born in a manger and died on a cross. He calls us to follow him and to bear witness to God’s kingdom of love, justice and compassion. Gordon King Canadian Baptist Ministries

The Shepherds

When my husband John and I bought our farm ten years ago, I was a city girl and he was returning to his roots as a farmer. The rules were simple: the horses would be mine, the sheep would his. But, of course, life is never simple, and soon one of my horses, Ginger, became his and the sheep, well, they began to grow on me. We began with four ewes, which over the years we grew to a flock of thirty. We bred them late; our ‘renta-ram’ coming from another farm down the road when the real farmer didn’t need him. Forget helping ewes give birth in the cold of February or March, we lamb mid-June to early-July, when temperatures were warm and the grass lush. As the years passed I have learned the most important thing when working with sheep is patience. Sheep are herd animals, and their instinct is to flee anything they don’t know or understand. Even after ten years, mine are pretty wary of me. Yelling at them and chasing them just gets them more and more excited, and harder and harder to manage. If you move slowly, walking back and forth behind them, they will eventually tire of running and stop to look at you. And if you stop and wait, and slowly add a little pressure, you may eventually get them to go where

December 17

you want them to. It helps tremendously to have two or three other people working alongside you. It never helps to be in a rush. Similarly, when it comes to lambing, waiting is the most important thing. Ideally you want to let a ewe do her job without interference; but, every once in a while, if she is really struggling, you need to help out. Sometimes it requires adjusting a lamb’s position before they can be pulled out. Slow and patient is the only way to go; too fast and you can hurt the lamb and mother. Often, just as you think there is no way this is going to work—something shifts, the ewe pushes and out comes the lamb. At Christmas, it can seem that everything becomes a frantic rush. Somewhere between decorating, baking, shopping, special church services, we miss the important message of just taking time to be with one another and share time with God. As one who regularly cares for sheep, I find it fascinating that the angels came to shepherds, people who would have known vital importance of waiting, of moving slowly, of waiting for the time to be just right. Karen Plater First Baptist Church, Thornbury

The Mystery is Near

Angels we have heard on high Sweetly singing o’er the plains It was an angel that broke the silence. The very appearance of an angel at this point in history is significant as there has been no written record of any encounter with angels for 400 years. This 400-year period is a dark time in history where God seemed distant. So the fact that angels were even mentioned in the text is significant—a sign to the people that God was near and something unique was about to happen. The angel’s name was Gabriel—one of only two angels in all of Scripture for whom we have a name (the other is the archangel Michael). Gabriel first appears to a lowly priest and announces that his wife will bear a son who will set the stage for the Messiah and turn many hearts back towards God. Several months later, Gabriel makes a second appearance, this time to Mary. On this occasion, he announces the very good news that the Messiah will be born, and that Mary will be his mother. Once this prophecy comes true, an unnamed angel appears to the shepherds in the field and offers the most well-known angelic proclamation: “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10, 11) This news was so spectacular that suddenly, out of nowhere,

December 18

a host of angels appeared praising God. Upon Jesus’ arrival, the heavens broke open. Angels appear close to 400 times throughout the Scriptures. Yet in my 43 years of weekly church attendance I do not recall a single sermon focused on these heavenly creatures. Perhaps that’s a good thing in that angels are not meant to be the center of attention. They exist as extras in God’s story, adding mystery and color. They are not meant to be front and center but point us to the ultimate good news. But sadly, due to the Enlightenment, combined with the fact that we have so many other competing, noise-making distractions in our lives, we risk forgetting them entirely. We might not even notice them if they were right in front of us. This Advent, let us remember the angels as we long for the return of the King. As you sit in church and hear the familiar story, pay close attention to these messengers and their role in our lives and in the Christmas narrative. If we could manage to do that, we might experience the urgency and vigor with which they point us to the best news of all: that Jesus the Christ has come, is with us, and will make everything right once and for all. And the mountains in reply Echoing their joyous strains Gloria. In excelsis Deo! Dion Oxford Parkdale Neighbourhood Church

The Advent of John

My youngest son played hockey when he was about 6 years old. I dutifully went to a game with all the other parents. During the game a boy on the other team took the puck, got a little confused and started skating toward his own net. The crowd of parents seeing what was about to happen all started to yell at the boy to turn around. The boy, mistaking the voices for cheers, skated even harder and scored on his own goalie, followed by what was a hollow victory dance. The next week the same thing happened again, except this time it was my boy skating towards the wrong net. I happened to be down alongside the ice at the time, and shouted above the other parents in a clear and loud voice—“Liam, you are going the wrong way”. He heard his father’s voice and turned around at the last minute, much to my and his relief. As we approach this advent season are we attuned to our Father’s voice amid all of the competing voices we face? If we are, then what is His voice saying to us? I find it interesting that during the Christmas season we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ but tend to forget the second birth story in the narrative—that of John the Baptist. How many Children’s Christmas plays have you seen depicting the story of John as a central Christmas theme? There is a reason why John was moved with joy in his mother’s womb as he neared his Saviour. In order for the Christmas story to truly become our story we have to be prepared to respond to the Father’s voice, and the Father’s voice is echoed in that of John the Baptist—to turn, to repent and go in God’s direction.

December 19

The meaning of Emmanuel, “God with us”, is also linked to the message of John: “repent and be baptized.” When the two cousins met one another in utero, the renewal of the mind represented by John the Baptist came together with the renewal of Hope in the person of Jesus Christ. The actualization of the birth of Christ, our hope, comes with a turning of the deep soul to the things of God in a way that all can see. This of course means a turning away from the things of the world, both interior and exterior—a painful process indeed. Scoring on your own net is a lot easier; there is no other team to skate through. I suppose that is why it feels as if there are so many hollow victories being celebrated this season. The real hard work of listening to the Father’s voice is a messy, costly affair. It is the stuff of nails and thorns and floggings. Celebrating the birth of Jesus without responding to the message of John is an “empty netter” on our own team. The real celebration and true blessing comes when life knocks you down hard because you chose a different path, faced the opposition and listened to the Father’s voice. Only then can the word “amazing” can be attached to the word “grace”. Then there is celebration, in one’s own life and even in heaven, over the one sinner who has truly turned to God. These are the victories our world yearns to see—a profoundly changed life in response to the full meaning of the Christmas narrative. It is not so much that we have a problem keeping Jesus in the season— but rather it has become far too easy to keep John out. Elliott Van Egmond Val Royal Baptist Church

A Banquet Feast

At an earlier point in Church history, fasting during Advent was a near universal experience. Today, this practice has faded from view in the West, and believers are much more likely to spend Advent punching out gourmet chocolates from numbered calendars. We Baptists do well to savour grace—but there’s also a profound truth to be learned from our brothers and sisters in the East. Why fast during Advent? The word ‘Advent’ itself provides a clue, as the word means “mini Lent.” Traditionally, many of the practices from Lent take place in a shorter form during Advent. Still, I find it difficult not to associate fasting with trying to get something from God. “If I starve myself for you, then you’ll owe me one!” But this reflects a flawed view of God—as one who must be coaxed and cajoled into goodness, rather than one who is good. As Canadian author Greg Pennoyer wrote, “The purpose of fasting is life, not self-flagellation or religious disciplines. It is about keeping our passions in their place, keeping them subject to us rather than us subject to them. Advent, preparation, waiting, fasting, is about life in the end.” Fasting, simply put, makes space for God. It makes room for the sweetness of Holy Mystery; prepares a banquet feast of Divine Presence. It makes us attentive. If nothing else, as Ken Shigematsu observes, it reveals how much time in our day is devoted to

December 20

the preparation and consumption of food—time that can be freed up to enjoy Jesus again. Herein lies the deep resonance between fasting and Advent. Advent is a designated time of preparation for God’s arrival. And fasting, more than perhaps any other spiritual practice, teaches us to wait. It etches us with patience, so that we don’t rely on ourselves but become hopelessly dependent on God’s activity, God’s Advent in our broken world. As the years go by, I find it more and more difficult to enter into the mystery of Christmas. Shopping Catalogues arrive in September, and I’ve basically tuned out by Black Friday. Fasting, the secret weapon of our friends in the East, adds potency to our resistance to this commercialization. Fasting helps peel back the noise and distraction so that we can hear that familiar, small voice again, and come alive with wonder. Lord Jesus, free us this Advent to behold the mystery of mysteries: God with us. On Christmas day, you demonstrated that you are not just an idea or a vague hope but a flesh-and-blood promise. You moved into the neighbourhood. May we be set free from the many distractions around us and have ears to hear this promise afresh this Advent. Jacob Buurma Canadian Baptists of Ontario and Quebec

Surprised by Loneliness

As Christmas day approaches, how the snow glistens and the bells ring! Excitement is building; expectations are soaring, remembering how Christmas used to be: Dad baking bread, Mom making pies, the Christmas lights shining and the turkey cooking in the oven. I vividly recall the aroma of Christmas morning in our home with dinner preparations underway, gifts already bought and under the fir tree. Then, we would gather together with the church to hear Isaiah’s Anthem: And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Is. 9:6) With all these jubilant memories, with such grand declarations about our God—why are there also lonely times during this time of the year? You can be standing in a long line at the store; you can be in a Spirit-filled service ablaze with God’s glory; you can be in a room full of friends; you can even be around the dinner table with all your family —when from out of nowhere loneliness grips the very core of your being.

December 21

Then all your musing about Christmas turns somber: Dad won’t be carving the turkey and you know, Aunt Marion’s spot is unreplaceable and cousin Donald’s laugh won’t be heard this year. And just as suddenly, sadness sweeps over your soul and you find yourself crying uncontrollably. Crying, to fill the emptiness of their existence. Crying, to remember their powerful words of influence over your life. It is precisely at these moments we can invite Isaiah’s Christmas declaration to come home to us afresh: We realize how Wonderful our Counselor really is: he comforts those who mourn. We believe beyond anything else that we serve a Mighty, Mighty Big God. We experience the love of an everlasting Father. And if we are open to it, we will find the chill of loneliness warmed away by the One who is our Prince of Peace. Della Bost First Baptist Church, Puce

Joy for All

“But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11) Throughout my years of ministry, I often hear youth or young adults say: “Maybe I’ll try out the church thing when I’ve got myself together.” In my work among homeless and street-involved youth as well as youth from high-risk communities, many have the perception that they just would not fit into a church community. They feel they don’t dress well enough or have their lives in order enough to fit in with those in church who seem to have it all together. And yet, the angel proclaimed Christ’s birth first to those who would not have been part of the regular worshipping community. Shepherds slept in the fields and hung out among the animals. They were dirty and uneducated. And these were the ones the Angel appeared to in order to announce the arrival of the Saviour of the world! The angel even tells them that the Saviour was born for them. This good news of great joy is not just for a select few, but for everyone. Even lowly shepherds need no longer feel excluded. In fact, these shepherds become the first group of evangelists, taking the message they had heard and telling everyone they knew!

December 22

There are so many in our communities who feel like they are not good enough or don’t belong in a church, and yet have so much to offer. One of the girls I have walked with for a number of years used to live on the street. She may not look or act like a typical churchgoer and still has trouble feeling like she fits in at church. But she tells everyone she knows about her relationship with Jesus. She meets and shares Christ with people with whom I would never come into contact. Her energy and passion reminds me of the shepherds who were so amazed by their encounter that they told everyone what they had seen and heard. This Advent, I hope you are surprised again by the astonishing way Christ was born into humble circumstances. There were no kingly trumpets sounded on earth to announce his birth. The heavenly trumpets came by way of angels who appeared to a rough crowd of shepherds. Christ came to embrace those who felt like the outcasts with His great love. Let us continue to proclaim this message to all, especially those who might not feel like they fit in. Karen Robinson Yorkminster Park Baptist Church

Resisting Materialism

“For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.” Matthew 6:32 Is it evil to buy things on Christmas? The Gnostics of the 2nd century thought material things were evil, but the church denounced them as heretics. Material possessions are not evil in and of themselves; the evil lies in how we view them. Jesus said, “no one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” (Matthew 6:24) We were created and meant to love and serve God but when we rejected our Creator in the garden, we lost our inherent ability to prioritize. We put “knowledge of good and evil” and “being like God” over God Himself. We put the created things over the Creator. This dynamic is at the heart of materialism: the worship of things over and instead of God. We may never bow down to an iPhone, but our possessions become evil when we start to run after them, when they consume us, when all our striving and late nights really boil down to a secret desire for more. We may casually assure ourselves that our possessions don’t own us, but we must take a real look in the mirror and ask God in prayer: is “there is any offensive way in me?” We need to reflect on our spending this holiday season, how much time we dawdle on and what occupies our hearts. As British author Dean Inge once remarked, “the soul is dyed the color of its leisure thoughts.” Our hearts and

December 23 minds only have so much space and if they are so occupied, we leave little room for God and little room to care for others. Materialism and greed can only be fought with repentance, a brisk turning away from that which enslaves us. In this case, our common enemy of greed is best fought with generosity. Generosity sets us free because we are saying with our wallets and our hearts that the Lord Himself is our treasure. Many of us know a time when we didn’t treasure God and pursued after all manner of other things. We were idolatrous, rebellious sinners who sought something other than God. But without God, the human condition is left empty, longing for something that could never be met by a tablet computer, luxury car, promiscuous encounter, holiday buffet or larger bank account. We see this theme throughout the Bible: humanity running away from God while God is running after us. Therefore, the Christmas story finally demonstrates how much God desires to dwell among us. From the throne of Heaven, the Father sent His Son, full of glory to be clothed in human flesh. He lowered Himself and became one of us. When we gaze at Christ, when we marvel at Him, our souls become satisfied and human longing for other things becomes weak and meaningless. Through God clothed in helpless babe, he offers an alternative way of life that will finally satisfy our restless souls. Paul Lam Scarborough Chinese Baptist Church

Gifts for Jesus

Flora, a seven-year-old from Walmer Road Baptist Church, participates in a remarkable Christmas tradition every year. Each Christmas Day, her family gathers around the tree to unwrap presents from grandparents, aunts and uncles and other friends. But her immediate family members refrain from giving gifts to one another. Instead, they pore over a World Vision Gift Catalogue together and carefully select gifts for families in the developing world. The parents set a budget and the children choose individual items from the catalogue to give to others. Here’s how Flora describes Christmas at her house: What does your family do to get ready for Christmas? Put up Christmas trees and put up lots of lights and we put up wreathes and our Christmas welcome sign. And we clean the house and get ready for our grandparents to visit—because they visit every year at Christmas. We also have a small table at the back of our house and we have a small wreath on it. And there’s some candles inside and we sing a song in the evening after dinner. And why do you do that? Because it’s something our family does for Advent. What is your favorite part about the story of Jesus’ birth? My favorite part is when the angel goes to the shepherds tending the flock in the field and says, “Do not be afraid, for I bring good news to you: in Bethlehem, in a stable, the Christ has been born.” I think it would be kind of fun to be a shepherd tending your flock in the middle of the night and then all of the sudden an angel comes and says, “Do not be afraid!”

December 24

Christmas is Jesus’ birthday. Is there a way to give Jesus a gift for Christmas? My family always buys something from World Vision and we send it to poor countries like India and Africa. And they cost a lot of money, but they are really good presents for Jesus. Those are good presents for Jesus. So how do you pick things to send? We just have a Christmas Catalogue and we look through them and decide what would be a good thing to get and isn’t too expensive and then decide to buy it. So what are some of the things that you have bought before? We’ve bought rabbits and chicks, and we’ve bought beds and clothes too. That sounds really great. Why does that make a nice gift for Jesus? Because Jesus says that when we give to other people, we’re giving to him. Is there anything else that you want to tell people about Christmas and why it’s special to you? It’s special to me because it’s the birth of our Saviour. And that is special to me because it only happened once in the whole world.


ation 22:1 by Gene Tempelmeyer of Spring Garden Baptist Church •

Prepare Him Room

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. This Christmas, our family will participate in many of the same activities as you will. We’ll celebrate together over meals, gifts, games. We’ll laugh, play and sing. We’ll also gather together, as we’ve always done, to read The Gift of the Magi by O’Henry, which always leads to a conversation about the meaning of the gift of Jesus our Lord. Each year it amazes me how humbly and unexpectedly Jesus came into our midst: “The Creator of the universe so embraced our humanity that he was birthed as a human being— into the impoverished circumstances of a peasant woman and her fiancé. God not only prepared this specific time and place for his entrance into humanity, but prepared for himself, throughout generations, a place of poverty and humility.” (Jim Houston)

December 25

Are you ready to welcome Christ into the poverty and humility of your heart today? Are you ready to prepare Him room? The word ‘room’ refers to the extent of space occupied by or available for something. Is your heart, and the extent of space there, available for the Son of Love this Christmas? Prepare Him Room, Love, the Guest is on His way! From all of us here at CBOQ, Merry Christmas, “and let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.” (Colossians 3:15) Tim McCoy Canadian Baptists of Ontario and Quebec

Download additional copies of this Advent Reader or support the ongoing work of the Canadian Baptists of Ontario and Quebec at

Other Advent Resources God With Us

Hardcover book with stunning Advent-themed artwork, insights from church history, and esssays by Eugene Petersen, Kathleen Norris, Luci Shaw and more.

Welcoming the Stranger

Devotional reflecting on the hopes, promises and fulfillments of the Advent season. Includes articles from Rod Wilson and Darrell Johnson.

Cut to the Chaise

Poignant annual blog about Advent written by Sam Chaise, General Secretary of Canadian Baptist Ministries

Gift of the Magi, O. Henry

Classic Christmas tale about love and sacrifice

Advent Reader 12 meditations on the Christmas story by members of our Canadian Baptist family Download additional copies at

Advent Reader  

12 lively meditations on the Christmas story