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We hope these curated Advent readings and original Christmas recordings have blessed you this season and that as you’ve set your heart on Christ, you’ve been able to see the wonders of God all around. This original reading from Al Andrews is a wonderful reminder of the beauty that surrounds us.

Earth’s crammed with heaven,And every common bush afire with God,But only he who sees takes off his shoes;The rest sit round and pluck blackberries.
–Elizabeth Barrett Browning

It had been one of those Christmas seasons, stressful and busy. We had been to one too many parties, had braved a couple of chaotic trips to the crowded Denver mall, addressed and sent cards and gifts, and even took in several holiday concerts.

By the time we were returning home from the Christmas Eve service, referring to my wife and me as Mr. and Mrs. Scrooge would not have been entirely inaccurate. While our 2-year-old son sat in his car seat, we were grumbling about it all, starting with picking apart the service we’d just attended. A mix of exhaustion and cynicism had settled in on us. It was not our finest hour.

In the midst of our conversation, we heard a voice from the back seat. We stopped talking and he was quiet. We continued our rant and we heard him say something, and again he was quiet. We felt it was our turn for silence and so we drove on, waiting to see if he would speak again.

As we passed by the next house, resplendent with lights on the trees and in the windows, a little voice from the back seat said slowly and articulately, “Beau-ti-ful!” And when we came to the next lighted tree, he said it again, “Beau-ti-ful.”

My wife and I looked at each other as tears welled up in our eyes. With one word, he had broken through our sullen spirits. While we were caught up in the mess, he had discovered wonder and beauty. In his own little way, he was looking at the Christ child and rejoicing over his coming. Leave it to a 2-year-old.

We took the long way home that night, going through neighborhood after neighborhood. I don’t know how many times the three of us said the word, “beautiful.” But I do know that we said it enough to return our hearts to what was true, and to remind ourselves of the reality that if we have eyes to see, the wonders of God surround us.

–Al Andrews

You can download the complete Advent guide and original Christmas recordings at

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