The Wonder of Christmas
Advent, a version of the Latin word “coming,” is a time where we celebrate the wonder of God coming into the world through Jesus. We want to delve once again into that wonderful Christmas story. Each Sunday starting on November 28th, we will spend time looking at what the advent of Jesus means for our world through the lens of Luke’s Gospel.
Nov. 28 – The Wonder of Christmas as told by Mary
Dec. 5 – The Wonder of Christmas as told by Gabriel
Dec. 12 – The Wonder of Christmas as heard by the Shepherds
Dec. 19 – The Wonder of Emmanuel: God-with-us
We want you to see each Sunday of the Advent season as an opportunity to invite friends and neighbours in person or online.
Dec. 24 | 2PM
We are planning a candle lit Christmas Eve service at 2PM with Christmas songs and a short message centered on the wonder of Christ’s coming.
To comply with Provincial Health and Safety Guidelines we are reducing capacity to 50%. Additionally, masks are required for anyone over the age of 5 to enter our church. Our Christmas Eve service will have two seperate spaces to gather in.
3 Ways to Join Us
- Sanctuary – Our main worship space will have 70 person limit. Additionally, to ensure distancing every second pew will be cordoned off.
- Ministry Room – We will offer a livestream of the service in our newly renovated space. The Ministry Room is smaller than our Sanctuary and is able to accommodate up to 50 people. Like the Sanctuary, the rows will have extra space between them. If you’re more comfortable with a little extra space and fewer people we encourage to ask one of our Ushers to go be seated in the Ministry Room.
- Livestream – If you’re not quite ready to come to our in-person service, consider sharing our live-stream with others and talking about it afterwards. Click here.
This year we are taking a special offering for those impacted by heavy rains and flooding in BC. Many families, businesses, and farms have been devastated by severe flooding caused by the heavy rains in November. All of the monies received for this special offering will go to the BC Flood Response Fund created by Mennonite Central Committee (MCC). They focus on providing relief, development, and peace in the name of Jesus.
You can give via Tithe.ly by selecting “Christmas Eve Offering” under designations.
You can also mail a cheque to the church.
Our address is 3833 Boundary Road, Vancouver, BC, V5R 2M4
November 28 – Advent begins
December 5 – Sunday Service 10AM
December 12 – Sunday Service 10AM
December 19 – Sunday Service 10AM
December 24 – Christmas Eve – 2PM Service
December 25 – Christmas Day – (No Service)
December 26 – Zoom Online Service (No In-Person Service)
December 29 – No zoom Prayer
December 27-31 – Church Office Closed
Living in the Wonder
Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year—A season full of wonder.
Yet for the average person Christmas is filled with grief, filled with exhaustion, filled with consumerism, and filled with stress.
One of the questions we’ve asked is, how we do experience the wonder that Christmas brings? More specifically, what are practices we need to engage in during this season so that we can live in the wonder of Christmas?
We’ve highlighted four practices for the Advent season to help us experience this wonder: Scripture, Sabbath, Gratitude, and Generosity.
We need practices that draw us back into the real and wondrous story of God becoming one of us.
So this season we invite you to read use one the three Advent reading plans offered. Each plan is different.
The Digital Reading Plan includes animated videos, short summaries, and reflective questions to help participants explore how Jesus brings hope, peace, joy, and love. It starts on November 28th and can be accessed through the YouVersion Bible app.
This Advent reading plan takes you from December 1st until Christmas Day. It’s best for those who prefer to use a printed guide to refer to.
If you have the Storybook Bible there’s a plan for you to go through with your kids!
We need practices that help us resist the hurried frantic pace of life and draw us into the rest of God.
Sabbath is a practice urgently needed in a culture where exhaustion and hurry are the norm. Sabbath is a 24-hour time period of restful worship, by which we cultivate a restful spirit in all of our life. While it isn’t a command in the New Testament, Sabbath is a life-giving and may be the most counter-cultural practice of these four.
A helpful way to think about Sabbath is through the lens of four ideas: Resting, Remembering, Resisting, and Rejoicing.
Sabbath is a day we cease from all working and choose to rest. We give our bodies and minds and spirits time to stop. We embrace our limits.
Sabbath is a day we remember that our primary identity is rooted in being a child of God. It is rooted in who God is rather than what we do. It is not our work nor our responsibilities that primarily define us, but our relationship with God.
Sabbath is a day we resist the ‘addictive drug of doing’ (Scazzero). According to Walter Brueggemann Sabbath is an act of spiritual defiance. We are not human doers. On this day we resist the idea that we not simply consumers or producers. On this day we embrace a posture of surrender and acknowledge we are not in control.
Sabbath is a day we rejoice. We rejoice in God’s creation and His goodness. This can be done over a meal with family and friends sharing stories and laughs or a walk in the park. The goal here is to rejoice and revel in what God has made possible in our world. These little joys are a foretaste of the future and everlasting joy that is to come when Jesus makes all things new.
4 Steps for Practicing Sabbath
1. Pick a 24 hour period to rest and worship. (Tell others, choose a ritual to define start and end of it like lighting a candle.)
2. Decide on a “Prep day’. This is a separate day from sabbath for taking care of errands and creating loose plans for Sabbath.
3. Aim for a Digital Detox. Consider avoiding news altogether for this day. (Keep Phone out of sight, schedule when you’ll check it, make plans ahead of time so you don’t feel the need to use phone.)
4. Aim to Connect with God 3 times in the day.
3 Ways to Connect:
1. Reflect on your week, jot down the good things you encountered, give thanks to God for each item.
2. Go for a walk in silence practice being present to God.
3. Spend 30 minutes reading your Bible. Invite God to speak to you through His Word.
A Prayer for Rest
““God of rest, I’m so busy. The demands of life are piled high, and my schedule is a tyrant. Help me catch my breath and enter the gift of your Sabbath once more. Free me to enjoy the goodness of your favor and this life. Forgive me for all the ways I try to justify myself by my accomplishments. Help me to rest every day in your grace. Amen.” – Philip F. Reinders, Seeking God’s Face
We need practices that enable us to recognize the good that God is working around us.
We live in a time of forgetfulness. It’s easy for us to give thanks in the moment and forget about what God has done just a few minutes later. Practicing gratitude regularly develops in us a life-giving rhythm of remembering who Jesus is and what He is like. Suzy Silk notes, “Gratitude has a way of buoying you. It returns you the rock of salvation. It draws you back into relationship with Jesus. It helps you to acknowledge that God is still working and cares for you, even if you don’t see the full picture yet. And as we do it for everything, we’ll soon find that gratitude becomes our operating system in all circumstances.”
This season we challenge you to do practice giving thanks to God for three things each day. Look for signs of His goodness and call them out.
We recommend doing this at dinner with your family or writing them in your journal.
We need practices that push us out of our consumerism and into the generosity of God.
God is so generous that He gave Himself in the person of Jesus. A heart transformed by the gift of Jesus will seek for ways to love people.
Apart from our Christmas Eve offering for BC Flood Relief, we want to highlight organizations doing important work in our province.
Through their work refugees coming to our city are given material, spiritual, and social support; the poor and marginalized are provided shelter; and churches are equipped to cultivate cultures of prayer, mission and justice in our city.
We encourage you to prayerfully consider how you can practice generosity in ways that go beyond your normal giving in this season.