When the hustle, bustle, and expectations of the holidays were about to overwhelm him, Al Andrews decided to take a late night stroll. Turning up his collar and pulling his jacket a little tighter, Andrews set out to clear his mind–and ended up rediscovering the true meaning behind the Christmas season. His newly updated book, A Walk One Winter Night, is inspired by these real-life events.
As he walked, Andrews passed by a nativity display in a neighbor’s yard, and something caused him to stop and linger. Analyzing the perfection of each character, Andrews realized this wasn’t real. He saw no dirt. Mary’s clothes were not wrinkled or torn. The baby didn’t cry. How unlike that first night in Bethlehem. How unlike life today. Could it be, Andrews wondered, that we have made it this way, that we have distanced ourselves for fear that authenticity might be uncomfortable?
Standing in front of that nativity, Andrews eyes were opened to the reason Christ came: to be real–to feel what we feel, to laugh like we laugh, to hurt like we hurt. All so one day, or winter night, when we come face-to-face with our struggle, we can come to Christ and say, “You know this too. Lead me through it.”
At the request of singer/songwriter Dave Barnes, Andrews detailed this experience in a spoken word performance at Barnes’s 2011 Nashville Christmas concert. Every year since then, Andrews has presented this story to thousands attending Barnes’s concert, helping audiences rediscover the joy of wonder and what is real at Christmastime.
As word of Andrews’s story spread, it struck a chord with Dove-award winning recording artist, Nichole Nordeman, inspiring her to write her 2013 Christmas single Real. “Every once in a while, you come across a story that helps you tell your own. From the very first page of A Walk One Winter Night, I recognized that the characters around the manger had become distant and no longer dear,” says Nordeman. “In this beautiful story, I saw them differently, maybe for the first time ever.”
Bestselling author and speaker, Patsy Clairmont, calls the experience “A Christmas miracle. Who doesn’t need one of those? A book that will resonate in your heart for years to come.”
Andrews will be performing the story at two Dave Barnes shows this Christmas season: on December 6, 2016 at Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center and on December 10, 2016 at the Bijou Theatre in Knoxville.
A Walk One Winter Night re-releases this fall in a new edition, featuring updated illustrations that reimagine the life-changing stroll that inspired the story.