JEFFERSON CITY – Missouri Baptist pastors Martin Winslow and Daniel Carr have uncovered a Christmas story embedded in Old Testament birth narratives that prefigure the Incarnation of Christ.
Their collaborative work has resulted in a remarkably engaging Advent devotional book, The Seventh Birthday, released through High Street Press, the publishing arm of the Missouri Baptist Convention.
Throughout Scripture we meet six unique women who aren’t able to conceive. The Bible depicts each of them as “barren.” Yet, through God’s intervention, they all have children. What’s more, each child born to these formerly barren women plays a vital role in the history of God’s people, and more importantly in God’s ultimate plan to reveal His only Son through a seventh and most miraculous conception – the virgin birth of Jesus Christ.
The Seventh Birthday unpacks each of these momentous birthdays in a compelling series of daily devotionals. Designed for family study, this book builds to a climax in God’s most beloved birthday story – the long-awaited birth of Immanuel, God with us.
Winslow and Carr take families through 25 days of reflection on Old Testament passages that follow the stories of six barren women to whom God miraculously grants children. Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Manoah’s wife, Hannah, and Elizabeth span the days from Genesis to the Gospels – each of them serving as a type of Mary, the virgin mother of Jesus.
Likewise, the women’s six sons serve as precursors to Christ through their unique gifts, characteristics, and stories. Jesus’ birth is the seventh and last miraculous birth recorded in Scripture. It introduces the New Covenant, which supersedes the Old Covenant linking Isaac (the first birthday) with John the Baptist (the sixth birthday).
The Seventh Birthday provides a reading for every day of the Advent season, including Christmas Day. Readers spend three days getting to know each of the six Old Covenant families. The last seven days demonstrate how Jesus fulfills the promises embedded in the six unique Old Covenant sons.
Family activities include lighting candles, exploring questions, and singing beloved Christmas carols.
The book offers an important tool for families to recognize the meaning and power of Advent. Further, it offers church families and individual believers a personal plan to celebrate the coming of the Christ child.
Winslow serves as pastor of families / children and missions at Canaan Baptist Church in St. Louis. With a passion for Christian education, church planting, and the poor, Winslow has co-founded three Christian schools in Africa. Two are in Zambia and one is in the 10/40 window of West Africa. Winslow also has written New Testament 260: A One-year New Testament Bible Reading Program; Parenting Tips for the Christian Home; and Train Them Up: A Christian Parent’s Guide to Balancing Sports and Faith.
Carr is senior pastor at Canaan Baptist Church and an adjunct professor of Old and New Testaments at Missouri Baptist University. He is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point with a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering. He’s also a graduate of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary with an MDiv from the Billy Graham School of Evangelism and Missions.
“Daniel Carr and Martin Winslow have uniquely tapped into the richness of Holy Scripture through the stories of the Old Testament and Gospels to deliver to us this Advent resource,” says Rick Hedger, director of Multiplying Churches for the Missouri Baptist Convention. “Our hearts will be greatly stirred and warmed as we walk through the stories of these characters and see Christ at every turn. I wholeheartedly recommend you consider the use of this valuable tool for this year, and for Christmases to come.”
Matthew Easter, director of Christian Studies at Missouri Baptist University, adds, “Carr and Winslow offer a gift to families: twenty-five daily readings to help situate the birth of the Messiah in the larger story of Israel. Families will discover parallels between Jesus’ birth and six other births to women previously experiencing infertility. With the help of guiding questions at the conclusion of each day, this study reinforces that the unchanging God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is none other than God the Father of Jesus.”
The Seventh Birthday is available in print and e-book formats through Amazon and other booksellers. In addition, Winslow and Carr are making the book available at the MBC Annual Meeting Oct. 25-26 at the Branson Convention Center.
To learn more about High Street Press and the resources it offers Missouri Baptists for personal or group study, visit highstreet.press.