CHRISTMAS: Friend of Angels and GIVEAWAY

Did you download a copy of The Other Wise Man by Henry Van Dyke for $0.99? (See Wednesday’s post, “The Heart of Christmas” for an introduction to this Christmas classic.) I recommend it. It is a literary treat and a soul-stirring experience.

FrontCoverFRIENDAs I mentioned Wednesday, I first heard it as a teen, when our dad read it to us just before Christmas. What I didn’t say is that he first heard it as a college student. A professor or campus guest (I don’t remember) recited the entire short novel from memory during a special program. The story became one of my dad’s favorites, but it also inspired a thought: What a great idea to write a fiction story revolving around a biblical story! Eventually, Dad did write two such novels. The first–just like Van Dyke’s tale–was a novel about events surrounding the Nativity. Here is a synopsis of this tale, Friend of Angels:

With the visit of an angel, Mary accepted the difficult honor of becoming the mother of the Son of God. With the guidance of several angelic visits, Joseph took on his unusual, taxing, and even dangerous assignment— to protect and provide for them both. Some of the ingredients of Joseph’s story are mentioned in brief gospel narratives of Jesus’ infancy and childhood. Then the record of Joseph goes silent.

After careful research, the author has fleshed out Joseph’s story. Come with him as he takes you under the shadow of Masada, through treacherous mountain terrain, and along bandit-infested trade routes on the flight to Egypt. Follow them home to Nazareth, where Jesus’ peaceful days of growing up alongside his carpenter father were interrupted by Joseph’s untimely—and possibly traumatic— death. Be inspired and awed by this earthly father of Jesus who laid down his life to preserve for us a Savior.

For a chance to receive an autographed copy of Friend of Angels, comment today–or comment on next Monday’s or next Wednesday’s post. The winner will be announced next Thursday, December 20. The winner of the book will receive it after Christmas–an appropriate time to receive a book about what probably happened after Jesus’ birth. (If you prefer to buy one now to give as a gift, please follow this link.

When a Dream Isn’t Just a Dream

One of the amazing things about the story of Jacob (Does He Even Know I Exist?) is that God pointed him in the right direction and gave him heart for the journey . . . with a dream.

Jacob wasn’t the only one who received from God a dream that made all the difference. A young man named Joseph had a dream in which his family all bowed down to him—and he shared the dream with them. You guessed it—his brothers hated him . . . more. They were already jealous of him because he was their father’s favorite.

You probably know the rest of the story: How his brothers sold him to a caravan of merchants headed for Egypt. How Joseph became slave to a high-ranking Egyptian, won his favor, but ended up in prison due to a false accusation. How, in spite of all that, he ended up second to Pharaoh in authority over Egypt—and his father and brothers came from their drought-stricken home to him to buy grain. And, yes—not recognizing who he was—they bowed to him.

As a spoiled young man, Joseph could easily believe a dream that set him above his brothers—and even his parents. As slave and then prisoner in a foreign land, how reasonable was it to believe then? But the dream was no fluke. And the history of his family and the world was changed because he held on to it.

 “Write the vision
And make it plain on tablets,
That he may run who reads it.
3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time . . .
Though it tarries, wait for it;
Because it will surely come . . . (Joel 2:2b-3 NKJV).


Making It Personal

  • What is your dream? (If you can’t identify your dream—who is your hero? That says a lot about the identity and destiny God planted in your heart.)
  • Have you thought, “Oh, that couldn’t happen. Not for me.” Why not?
  • Are your negative circumstances any greater than Joseph’s? Is your dream really impossible?
  • Could it be God gave you this dream for more reasons than you know? Are you taking hold of it?