Christmas

As the joy of expectancy greets the heart’s nostalgia for days and lives gone by this Christmas, I pray that you would experience a fresh encounter with a God powerful enough to whisper His truth in a still, small voice.

I pray that He would manifest His presence in ways that bring new clarity of vision and enflamed imagination for the exploits you and I can do.

I pray that the joy of your salvation would fill you to overflowing as you are conformed daily into the image of Christ and learn to patiently wait on Him. [click to continue…]

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(The 12 Pathways to Christmas, Part 11 – The Way of Connection)

(This is a reprint from a previous post and a chapter in my book The Twelve Pathways to Christmas. See below for how you can purchase the book and help support missions.)

“I have connecting gate information here!”

Amber Amari knew something about making connections.  And no place connected more people and destinations than Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

“Dallas/Ft Worth? A33.  Richmond?  Gate B10.”

Amber had the printout for Delta Flight 2943, inbound from Newark, as she stood at Gate A5.  But she hardly had to refer to it.  She had a remarkable gift for remembering the complex array of gates, times, and final destinations of her assigned passenger manifests.

“Oklahoma City is B14…  You’re welcome, sir – Merry Christmas to you, too.”

Everyone else on 2943 was a connection-in-waiting.  But today Amber had a special assignment.  The last passenger to deplane – six-year-old Bradi Russo – would be her companion for the day.

“Charlotte?  B8.”

Amber was something of a specialist in making connections.  And nowhere did the 27-year-old Red Coat’s gifts shine more than in unique, delicate situations.

Bradi Russo was a unique situation.

And as the tentative little girl took the hand of the flight attendant and walked toward the gate, it was good to know, Amber Amari understood the concept of delicate. [click to continue…]

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The Twelve Pathways to Christmas, Chapter 7:  The Way of Warfare

(This is a reprint from a previous post and a chapter in my book The Twelve Pathways to Christmas. See below for how you can purchase the book and help support missions.)

December 23

The first thing Ryan Fisher felt when he awakened was an obnoxious cold wind, pelting his face with sleet.  The searing pain coursing down his legs and across his chest further aroused him.  Opening his eyes, he saw movement outside, but the angle of his SUV in the ditch made it difficult to tell what was happening.  One thing was sure – the distant siren and flashing lights were for him.

Another thing became certain pretty quickly.  Assuming he lived, Ryan Fisher would spend Christmas alone.  There’d be no plane to catch, and nobody boarding a plane back to Birmingham.  Not in this storm.

It was the end of the day from hell, punctuating the week from hell, capping off the year from hell.  And now, freezing and in shock, Ryan Fisher closed a mental door.  He was done. [click to continue…]

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Christmas 2016

As your heart gathers around memories of Christmases past and delights of Christmas present, as the busyness and stillness collide in something called “holiday,” I pray that like all those involved in the first Christmas, this would be a day of wonder for you.

I pray you would embrace joyfully the beauty of mystery – knowing that the mysterious is a cousin to the miraculous – and you are gloriously free from being able to explain everything in 140 characters or having to control any and every outcome. [click to continue…]

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Unclaimed

by Andy Wood on December 2, 2016

in Esteem, Five LV Laws, Life Currency, Principle of Legacy, Waiting

This photo from December 2013 - People scatter rose pedals during an interfaith graveside memorial service.in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

This photo from December 2013 – People scatter rose pedals during an interfaith graveside memorial service.in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

Suppose you were hosting an event for a crowd north of 1,400 people.  Where would you have it?

That’s a pretty serious venue.  Unless your name is something like Biltmore, you can probably scratch the back yard or dining room off the list.  But hey, your local hotel ballroom may fit the bill. Depending on the nature of the event, a few church houses or large theaters or auditoriums would work.

When was the last time you were part of a crowd that big? I was there a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve got to tell you, it was noticeable. Parking was a bit of a challenge. The venue was a little crowded. The energy was palpable. Lots of noise and excitement.

And no, I’m not referring to a Black Friday sale at Walmart.

But I want to tell you about a different kind of assembly. One where 1,430 people came together and hardly anyone noticed.  Parking wasn’t a problem.  Noise wasn’t an issue.  In fact, all was deathly(!) quiet, at a venue that was shockingly small.

The location: a mass grave. [click to continue…]

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three candles 2

As you celebrate in the silent night or the joyful noise that is your Christmas, I joyfully lift my prayer to the Father of lights on your behalf – praying that you would discover the unique inspiration that comes from knowing what an inspiration to others you can be.

I pray that on this day you would find your way to the Chamber of your Beloved, to rediscover the awakened intimacy that comes from having your soul restored, realizing again the central message of Christmas, that you are completely loved.

I pray that in the coming year, when you engage with the terrible and the trivial in this world, that when others are desperately looking for the light of truth and hope, they find it burning brightly still in you.

[click to continue…]

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Set of three red candles burning in the dark

What stockings there are in this house are hung, and most all of the Christmas decorations are out and up for this most unusual of Christmases – one in which we are anticipating the birth of a grandson.

In the kitchen alone, the candles and stuffed carolers next to the miniature street lamp sing in inaudible celebration that it’s Christmas.  Five trees of some size or shape adorn the china hutch and island.  Candles and ribbons grace the table, and the Santa hat makes a nice addition to the ceramic pig that keeps watch over all things kitchen.  A stuffed snowman (that lights up, of course) perches on a chair in the corner.  And a healthy collection of Santa-and-the-Missus salt and pepper shakers give new meaning to that cliché of all Christmas clichés – ‘Tis the season.

But what most catches my eye is a little string of letters hanging down from the upper cabinet, next to the stuffed snowman.  Those four letters spell the word, H-O-P-E.

Isn’t that the renewable resource that is Christmas – the celebration of the birth of the Hope of the Ages?  That however sorry or desperate the world looks (have you read the news lately?), there still is hope?

We live in an age where linkin’ stinkin’ thinkin’ together has become an art form, and the cynics seem to be winning.  But this Christmas can be a reminder to me and to you that we’re not done hoping. [click to continue…]

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My 2013 Christmas Prayer for You

by Andy Wood on December 25, 2013

in Life Currency, Love, Words

Three Candles

In the stillness of the night or the glory of the morning that is Christmas, my prayer for you is that beyond the traditions and trappings, through the gifts and the connections, you approach it all with a heart that is fully awake and aware of the Larger Story and the part you still must play.

I pray that you would fall in love again this Christmas with a first-love kind of desire for Jesus, whose birth we celebrate. I pray that your soul would find in Him and in those whose lives you touch the sweetest of love that gives graciously, forgives completely, and waits patiently when you or I fail miserably.

I pray that you have those God-breathed encounters in which your heart is so full you are lost in the moment.  I pray that your heart is so captured with the wonder and joy of the presence of God, even in the simplest of experiences, you could stay in that moment and hold Him tightly. [click to continue…]

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Christmas FearIt isn’t “Peace on Earth.”

It isn’t “Good will to men.”

It isn’t “Wise men still seek Him” or “Joy to the world,” true and wonderful as all those things are.

Read through the different accounts of the first Christmas, and the most common thing you will find is a variety of ordinary people like you and me coming to grips with their fears. And the message of Christmas again and again is, “You don’t have to be afraid.” [click to continue…]

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Joy Comes to the House of Affliction

by Andy Wood on December 20, 2013

in Life Currency, Love, LV Stories, Words

An imaginary story of what could have been…

Olive ChaliceEvening falls quickly in Bethany, as the sun seems to drop like a rock on the other side of the mountain, and beyond that, the Holy City of Jerusalem. And in this village – whose very name means “house of affliction,” the mood often seems to do the same.

There always seems to be something else to do in Bethany, this place of never-ending chores.  This village, one of three in Israel set aside to treat the sick, is a place of care and service. Duty and devotion.  Its residents usually find a sense of satisfaction there.

But not this time.

Not when duty and devotion means saying good-bye to one of its own.

One of Bethany’s most cherished servants, from a deeply respected family, has died giving birth to a beautiful baby girl.  And in this House of Affliction, the hits just keep on coming.

The official time of mourning now passed, duty calls, and the people of Bethany, still reeling, must man their stations.  And as 12-year-old Martha trudges through her evening chores – something she once relished doing with her Mama – no one feels the unfairness of it all more than she. [click to continue…]

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