Monday, November 30, 2009
Touching Wonder: Recapturing the Awe of Christmas is truly an awe-inspiring book to read, especially at this time of year when we are entering the Advent season and celebrating the birth of our Saviour. I love how the author makes it feel so personal the whole way through the book. As we read of Elizabeth's journey through learning she is to have a baby at her age and then move on to read Mary's thoughts, it just really puts the story into perspective, and I could almost feel what they were feeling....what it must have been like. With passages from The Message, the story truly comes to life. Each section starts with the particular passage that goes with that part of the story and is followed by the author's reflections on that particular passage. He makes it personal to whom the passage is speaking about, though. You feel as if you are seeing through the eyes of Zachariah, Elizabeth, Mary, and even the Father who sent His only Son to earth for us. This book brings the real-life story out of story form and into a new light, one that invokes a lot of thought and emotion. It brings that story to life, just as it was real then, and makes it real now. He ends each section with a short prayer. This is one book that I can see myself reading every year at this time. It is truly "recapturing the awe" of the season.
It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!
You never know when I might play a wild card on you!
John Blase’s work includes Living the Questions and Living the Letters Bible-study series, the Worldviews reference book (TH1NK), Real Life Stuff for Couples, and The Message Children’s Bible. A former pastor, John currently edits by day and writes by night. He and his wife, Meredith, have three children and make their home in Colorado.
Visit the author's website.
List Price: $12.99
Hardcover: 128 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook; New edition (September 1, 2009)
AND NOW...an excerpt:
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to the Galilean village of Nazareth to a virgin engaged to be married to a man descended from David. His name was Joseph, and the virgin’s name, Mary. Upon entering, Gabriel greeted her:
You’re beautiful with God’s beauty,
Beautiful inside and out!
God be with you.
She was thoroughly shaken, wondering what was behind a greeting like that. But the angel assured her, “Mary, you have nothing to fear. God has a surprise for you: You will become pregnant and give birth to a son and call his name Jesus.
He will be great,
be called ‘Son of the Highest.’
The Lord God will give him
the throne of his father David;
He will rule Jacob’s house forever—
no end, ever, to his kingdom.”
Mary said to the angel, “But how? I’ve never slept with a man.”
The angel answered,
The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
the power of the Highest hover over you;
Therefore, the child you bring to birth
will be called Holy, Son of God.
“And did you know that your cousin Elizabeth conceived a son, old as she is? Everyone called her barren, and here she is six months pregnant! Nothing, you see, is impossible with God.”
And Mary said,
Yes, I see it all now:
I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve.
Let it be with me
just as you say.
Then the angel left her.
The theologians have rendered us mindless God-slaves, wisps of cloudy wings, doing nothing but the bidding of the Mighty One. Theologians. There is so much they do not know.
I found her just as He said she would be found: sitting on her bedding, barefooted, knees pulled up to her chest, arms wrapped tightly around them, chin resting on her knee-tops. I saw why she had gained the favor of the Mighty One. I liked this daughter-of-Eve-to-bethe-mother-of-God.
“But how? I’ve never slept with a man.”
I expected this. But unlike that old priest’s, hers was not the doubting of a skeptic but rather the wondering of a child.
“But how? I can’t see it.”
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you, the power of the Highest hover over you. Mary, you have nothing to fear.” The Mighty One had expressly said, “Herald the news, Gabriel. Don’t report it.” I would have liked to elaborate further, but Mary would have to live out the details of my news in days to come. Truths unlived are not truths.
Then she paused and looked away. I have spoken to many of God’s children, and their eyes are always transfixed on me. They should be. I am Gabriel, the sentinel of God. But Mary’s gaze wandered for a moment. But what I initially took for a distracted mind was rather a devoted heart.
Her eyes returned to me. “Let it be with me.” Ah, the Mighty One had chosen well. Her words were not
resigned, but faith-full. The faith of a child. Of such is the Mighty One’s kingdom.
“Cousin Elizabeth? Really? Old Elizabeth? But how?”
“Nothing, you see, is impossible with God. Mary, you have nothing to fear. I have told you all you need to know for now. You are more ready than you realize, stronger than you know. God is with you. Now I must go.”
But I did not want to go. Faith is rare, at least true faith. Yes, the word is often used, but the reality is hard
to find. Yet here I found it, in an earthen vessel surrounded by an earthen room. I liked Mary.
I left her just as He said I would: barefooted, sitting on her bedding, knees pulled up to her chest, arms
wrapped tightly around them, chin resting on her kneetops. She looked older now. Human eyes would not
recognize this, but mine have seen much.
The Mighty One had revealed glimpses to me, what days ahead would hold for this glorious girl. Her cousin’s leaping womb. Joseph’s broad shoulders. The back of a borrowed burro. Herod’s jealous-red face. The cries of the innocent. The breath of stable animals. The agony of pushing the Mighty One out into this world.
I found myself praying for the favored one. Mary had so much to carry.
©2009 Cook Communications Ministries. Touching Wonder by John Blase. Used with permission. May not be further reproduced. All rights reserved.
Friday, November 27, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
List your givaways!