Nativity, with Christmas Trees Might as well make it official — my first book, That You Might Believe: Praying Advent with the Gospel of John will be out this week. I’ve a hurdle or two left, such as finishing the cover design and getting fonts to display nicely, but those should be done soon and we’ll be off to the races. I will publish at and will also offer it as a PDF download once I work out the functional details of doing the download after the payment processing with PayPal. I will work on getting a small batch into my own hands if anyone wishes to buy direct… pricing TBA once the Lulu details are sorted out.

As the title implies (and as I mentioned before when this was still just an idea, the book is a series of daily offices with readings from the prologue to John’s gospel (John 1:1-18). That’s right, the Christmas story without shepherds, wise men, or even a stable. Old Testament scriptures accompany to flesh out the Johannine themes as well as the Advent themes, all moving toward the pinnacle of the passage in the final week of Advent. I pressed on and threw in an extra set of offices and readings for the Christmastide season, so in all you can get close to 40 days of praying the office with the Apostle John and the rest of your family. The book includes brief introductions to the themes and meditations or reflections meant primarily to stimulate your thinking rather than to instruct.

Here’s the open call: many of us will be blogging Advent themes through December, and in keeping with the little volume I’ve just completed, I will be blogging through John’s prologue and the themes that are stirred up there. I’d like to get some additional participation so that as people move through the book, they’ll also be able to read a variety of blog posts on the same themes. You don’t have to buy the book to join in the fun (though of course I hope you’ll want to!) — I’ll post an outline that you can use to keep step. You can select whatever frequency you like, from once per week to daily if you want. Each week includes:

  • An introduction to the week’s themes;
  • A set of four daily offices, with prayers drawn from Celtic and other sources, some as obscure as the War Rule from the Dead Sea Scrolls — and a lot of scripture;
  • A traditional Christmas carol for the week;
  • Two sets of morning and evening readings, which change halfway through the week for a total of four sets of Old/New Testament readings, with all the NT passages from John (most from 1:1-18); and
  • Three meditations, two based on the morning/evening readings for each half-week, relating the two together, and one relating the scripture readings to the weekly Advent theme.

Obviously there’s a lot of material there, so there should be something to pick up on for whatever posting frequency you want to keep. Use the texts, use just the carols, whatever. Leave a comment below or drop me a note with questions or just to say you’re in. I’ll put together an outline of the scriptures and email it to anyone who is interested in playing along so we don’t tip our hand completely as to where we’re going. ;^) If you’re into link Karma, we can cross-link all the participants like a synchroblog. If you’re nervous, drag a friend along to pray and blog through Advent with Brother Maynard and the Apostle John!

So who’s with me?

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