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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...


Daily Boost

December 16, 2013 - An Immanuel Christmas

By Doug Clay

"The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel (which means 'God with us')" (Matthew 1:23, NIV).

On Feb. 3, 1966, Capt. Gerald Coffee was returning from a scouting mission over North Vietnam when he heard a loud bang. He felt a vibration, then his aircraft began to shake violently. Coffee had been hit. He managed to eject, only to land in hostile waters.

Coffee’s face, neck, and arms had been badly burned. His right forearm was broken, and the elbow was badly dislocated causing his arm to swell to twice its normal size.

But Coffee’s poor physical condition wasn't the worst of it. His captors placed him in a dark cell about 3 feet wide and 7 feet long. For the next seven years, Coffee’s captors would keep him alive on a diet of minimal food. He endured regular torture.

While time in that small cell seemed to stand still, one day in particular remains vividly etched in Coffee's mind. He writes:

"Christmas 1968 stands out in my memory. For most of the day, I listened as the son of a head guard, a child of 3 or 4, played with a toy car. I could hear him revving and honking just as I had heard my own boys on past Christmases. I never knew what real loneliness could be. And then I thought about the simplicity of Christ's birth. Here there was nothing to distract me. No commercialism. No presents. Little food. I was stripped of everything by which I had measured my identity ­- rank, uniform, money, family. Yet I continued to find strength within. I realized that, although I was hurting and lonely and scared, this might be the most significant Christmas of my life."

How can a man have the most significant Christmas of his life without family, without friends, without gifts, and without celebrations? The answer is simple. The trappings are not what make Christmas significant. In the midst of his isolation, Capt. Coffee was able to focus on what matters most about Christmas — God with him!

This Christmas, don't rush through the holidays by thoughtlessly singing some carols and hurriedly exchanging a few gifts. Discover what it means to have "God with you!"

— Doug Clay is general treasurer of the Assemblies of God.




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