Evening Edition - December 30

December 30, 2018

A few years ago, inspired by my book “A Simple Christmas,” I asked listeners of my radio show to share their own favorite Christmas memories.  While my staffers and I are enjoying some time off with our families, I’m digging into the archives to share some of those wonderful stories again.  I hope they’ll add some extra joy to your holiday season...  

* * * * *

Dorothy from North Carolina wrote:

“It's been a few years ago now, that through an unusual set of circumstances I met a dear Christian lady named Hilda N-----.  Hilda had endured many hardships in life…Now, in her later years… she lived in abject poverty with…crippling arthritis.  It was Christmas and I had a gift for Hilda. Mark and I were dating at the time and I asked him to go with me to Hilda's humble home…  But it wasn't my gift that I've remembered all these years...it was HER gift, given liberally out of her poverty, that I will never forget.

She and I had exchanged gifts, her gift to me a small ceramic bell with a cross at the top from the dollar store. And then came the moment I cherish yet today. She looked at Mark apologetically and reached down into the cushion of the chair…fumbling until she finally retrieved a small, zippered change purse. Her gnarled, misshapen fingers (terribly twisted from the arthritis) moving slowly and with painful effort, she managed to open the purse… Finally, she turned to Mark and, pulling out a folded, crumpled $1.00 bill, she held it out to him.

Her soft, quiet voice and loving manner gave eloquence to the gesture. ‘I didn't know YOU were coming so I didn't have a gift for you.  Here’, she handed him the dollar bill, ‘Merry Christmas.’

Tears sprang to my eyes as I knew what a sacrifice was represented in the giving of the dollar bill. Her heart of love and her desire to share the little she had gave her gift more meaning than a purse full of gold.” 

Thank you, Dorothy, and Hilda, for reminding us that Christmas isn’t about what we get, it’s about what we give.  

* * * * *

Melvin from Oregon wrote to share a very special Christmas memory about a small gift that made a very big impression on him:

“Christmas 1945.  I am five years old, and we are still staying with my grandparents… My father was in Japan in the Second World War, his two brothers were in the European theater.  All three came home OK. I thank God for that and for all of the men that have gone before.

We are trimming the Christmas tree. Grandpa comes in, and he has all of these walnuts that he has painted silver and put a yarn loop on to hang them with. Well I think they’re neat, but that’s about it.

Christmas morning, I come down and start opening my presents. Grandpa says, ‘Why don't you open one of those walnuts?’ I say ‘Naw, I got to open my presents’… Well grandpa keeps after me. Finally, I say, ‘Okay!’  So I crack a walnut open, and a penny falls out. Well, NOW, I'm opening walnuts!  There's dimes, nickels, and pennies.  When I get done, I have about a dollar fifty, and that’s big money in 1945

…My grandfather thought enough of me to take the time to cut the walnuts open and take out the meat for grandma to cook with. Then he put a coin in and glued each one back together, just to make a little five-year-old boy happy on Christmas morning.

Sixty five years later, I don't remember anything else I got that Christmas.  But I remember the walnuts and the love that went into making them. That might be something for young parents to think about... It really is the little things that count the most.” 

Thanks, Melvin, for giving us all something important to remember before we go frantically hunting for whatever the latest “hot” gift is.   

* * * * *

Nobody is more excited about Christmas Day than children, and sometimes, it inspires them to come out with some real gems.  For instance, Mona from Kentucky wrote:

“When I was a child, we had a coal stove. One of those potbellied stoves. Of course with those stoves, there was a small pipe that went out the ceiling so the smoke would not get in the house. I remember wondering how Santa got down that skinny pipe.  So one day I asked Mom how he got down that pipe.  I guess I really put her on the spot because she replied, “He has a house key!”  And that satisfied me.” 

Thank you, Mona, and Merry Christmas to your mom, who I bet had to answer a lot of tough questions before you grew up! 

 *******

Here’s another story of a Christmas miracle that started with the words of a child.  Tom from Louisiana wrote that he used to volunteer for the park district in Calumet City, Illinois, in a low income area.  One year, the man playing Santa was ill, so Tom filled in.  It was a hard job, listening to the Christmas wishes of hundreds of children, knowing most of their parents were too poor to make them come true. 

One day, a little 5-year-old girl, as beautiful as a china doll, hopped up in his lap and didn’t say a word.  He asked her if she’d been good and obeyed her parents.  She said yes.  So he asked what she wanted for Christmas.  She replied, “Nothing.” 

Tom was dumbfounded.  He asked if she was sure she didn’t want anything.  She said not for herself.  But could Santa give her daddy a job?  He needed a job.  Well, Tom didn’t know how to answer that.  So he just said he’d try his best, but that was one wish Santa might not be able to fill.

But, Tom wrote:

“God works in great ways.  At the time the young girl was sitting on my lap, (a local reporter) was there taking pictures and…overheard the child’s conversation with Santa. The next day, the paper (ran a photo) of the little girl sitting on Santa’s lap with the caption ‘All she wants for Christmas is a job for her daddy’…The next day, the little girl’s father received a call and was offered a job. A day or so later, the little girl came back to see me with my favorite chocolate chip cookies and a thank you for Santa…

Till this day, and it’s been at least twenty-five years, I still tear up thinking about that little girl and her unselfish wish. Christmas is truly about miracles.” 

Thank you, Tom.  I bet that little girl was the best gift her daddy ever received. 

*****

Claudine from North Dakota shared this:

“When my kids were little, the church was getting together some toys, gifts and food items for a poor family who had just moved to our area at Christmas time.  While looking in the pantry to see what we might have extras of, I asked my children what they would like to give. My daughter - then six years old - went to her room and brought down her Barbie doll complete with Barbie outfits, that she loved to play with. It was her only one.  When I said, ‘Oh, honey, you don't have to give your favorite doll’, she said to me, ‘Mommy, if you just give what you don't want, it's not really giving, is it?’” 

Thank you, Claudine, for reminding us that sometimes, parents can learn from children. 

Of course, Christmas is also a time when many of us former children experience the sadness of memories of parents who are no longer with us. I received many stories from people who were rocked by a flood of emotions at something as simple as coming across an old family decoration that their dad made, or the smell of a favorite family dish that mama used to cook. You never know what unlikely things might trigger overwhelming emotions. 

For example, Linda from Texas recalled that her grandfather’s last Christmas gift to her dad just before he died was a shirt.  He never wore the shirt.  But he kept it hanging in his closet for the rest of his life, carefully preserved as a reminder of his dad.    

 

Ellen from Oregon would understand that feeling.  Her mother died of a brain tumor that had scrambled her thinking and sometimes made her a little exasperating.  Just before Christmas, she made a big production of being driven to the post office to buy Christmas ornament postage stamps.  She debated at great length before settling on the design, which she insisted on calling the “Jingle Bell stamps.”  The postal clerk put three sheets of stamps in an onionskin envelope for her.  Her mom proudly took them home, wrote “Christmas stamps” on the envelope, and displayed them on the windowsill for all to see.  It seemed a little silly to Ellen at the time.

One month later, as she and her sisters were cleaning out their late mother’s house, Ellen came across her mom’s beloved Jingle Bells stamps in the onionskin envelope with her handwriting on it.  She wrote, “I took them into the bathroom and cried.”  She took the envelope with the remaining stamps home with her.  Long afterward, when her husband needed a stamp, she opened the stamp drawer, saw them again, and cried again. 

She now calls them the “Jingle Bell stamps,” too.  There are only three stamps left, and there always will be. Ellen said she could never use them.  She wrote:

“It’s almost as if when those stamps are gone, one more thread will be cut…But somehow I know I will never give up that little onion skin envelope. Whenever I buy stamps, it will always be in sheets, and I will always tuck them into that little onion skin envelope.” 

Thank you for sharing that, Ellen.  And please know that you are not alone.  Many of us treasure things that might seem silly to others, but they hold value beyond gold to us.  There’s no reason to be embarrassed about having a reminder of your mom in the stamp drawer.  But it’s even better to know that we’ll always have memories of our loved ones who’ve left us tucked safely away in our hearts. 

 

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Comments 1-23 of 23

  • CARMEN PRICE

    12/31/2018 03:06 PM

    Governor Huckabee
    Loved your weekend show and had no idea Mickey Gilley was still alive and he and Johnny Lee were great together. Old guys can still sing! Also your critique of "impeachment" was right on, guess the dumbocrats have not read the Constitution, they just want to spout off on how much they hate Trump..............I agree with you "aint gonna happen", no crime has been committed either. Now if the Prez can get his wall, fire Mueller, and then take on the dems, our year might be OK, but I really feel sorry for President Trump, I know he is aware of what is planned for him but still the stress of it all will be awful!
    Wishing you and your family a very Happy New Year,
    hugs
    Carmen Price

  • Darlene Morris

    12/31/2018 01:45 PM

    Happy New Year to you and your family!

  • Elizabeth Lamb

    12/31/2018 01:41 PM

    Belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Mr. Huckabe. I read your posts daily and am proud to be a deplorable and support our President 100%.
    I wish you a healthy, happy and Prosperous 2019. Thank you for writing to us every day.
    Elizabeth Lamb
    Butte, Montana

  • Phil Tinnes

    12/31/2018 11:37 AM

    you all are on my prayer list! Easter's coming up!

  • Norman R Able

    12/31/2018 11:02 AM

    Thanks for these inspiration Christmas stories. The little girl who did not want anything, except a job for her Dad was the best. Again, thanks for all your are doing for our beloved Republic, called the USA! Lord bless and sustain you and your daughter Sarah, she is a very strong, genuine young lady, PTL

  • Ann Music Streetman

    12/31/2018 07:08 AM

    Your book A Simple Christmas is one of my treasures. The first time I experienced it was listening to the audio version while cooking the season's favorites. I later bought a hard back version and gave it to my husband. Years later we used audio excerpts of the book in a Sunday School lesson. Your comments on the birth in Bethlehem are spot on. I've said, "It's the best book I've ever read." That may be a little over the top, but maybe not. Here is why: it is obvious you accomplished what you set out to do in writing. As a retired communications professional, I appreciate your life experiences and skill that makes the book great. Thank you for writing it. AMS Storyteller.

  • Amelia Little

    12/31/2018 01:54 AM

    Thank you for sharing all the Christmas stories. What a pleasant way to spend a few minutes out of each day.

  • Vernon R Freeck

    12/31/2018 01:16 AM

    Loved all the great stories people left, we need more like this, good things, to be on the air and tv

  • Stevie Rimer

    12/31/2018 01:02 AM

    These were ALL great and touching remembrances. Michael, you are truly a wonderful human being and you have raised an incredible daughter who takes no guff and is quick with the answers...I love her almost as much as I have grown to Love love love YOU>>may the Lord always keep blessing you & yours.. Stevie Rimer (from Darryl Issa country..O'Side,ca

  • Carl Smith

    12/30/2018 09:59 PM

    My adopted Dad returned home from Guam being spared the invasion of mainland Japan and Jobs were rare and the original Center Point Energy ( Houston Natural Gas Co.) held a job for Dad who was one of the original 13/14 employees. When Grandmother was forced to give up her house, Mom & Dad bought a house just a block away from her home of 20+ years so the budget was tight and Dad Moonlighted by sharpening reel type lawnmowers in our rickety garage and servicing Gas appliances and owning an appliance store so a Cousin and his wife & baby could have a Job, while Mom, with a 3rd Grade Education was the bookkeeper and appliance demonstrator. Needless to say times were tight, to be polite, and Dad believed that Idle hands were the Devils Workshop so in addition to moving the cord of wood from one side of the yard EVERY Saturday, I was tasked to "cut the grass". Now to most people that is pretty straight forward--You Cut The Grass! Dad's definition also included trimming the edges, picking up leaves, etc. Now I am about 8 years old , 4' 6" & 75-80 lbs. and OUR CAST Iron Reel Mower weighed more than I did. I had to grab the tongue midway between the mower and the handle normal people would use. Christmas Day of 1948 was a day I will Never Forget. Due to a customer leaving his ALUMINUM Reel mower because he moved My Gift was the abandoned mower. I thought I had died and went to heaven. I could now 'mow the lawn' in half the time and make it to Glendale Pool to enjoy Saturday with my friends. Today my wife and I discussed just giving empty boxes with Bubble Wrap for the Great Grands. They will NEVER forget it. I gave my Children boxes in boxes in boxes in boxes with the smallest gift in the final box and usually the most expensive and cherished years later.

  • Gary Chambers M D

    12/30/2018 09:32 PM

    The little girl who gave her favorite Barbie doll. That story should be on the minds of church people giving to missions. So many times
    I have rummaged through donated medical supplies to find something useful . Clearly, most donations, including clothing, are no longer useful or needed. One of my favorite paintings is old Zimbabwe man wearing cast off tuxedo coat, wrinkled , soiled, holes in sleeves. The man wondered why I was photographing him. When I painted him ,I knew why.”Give of your best......”

  • Richard H. Burns

    12/30/2018 09:31 PM

    These stories brought huge tears to this 88 yr. olds eyes. My wife & I had been in the Army for a 15 months all alone far away from our homes & families, and 15 month newly weds. We had an apartment off base with a beautifull little 5 ft. tree. Under the tree on Christmas morning was a bright red Western Auto Supply Co.,"Wizzard" half-inch drive socket wrench set from my wife--WOW! I still have it to this day, even though the steel box is pretty battle scared, the sockets are good as new. About a month ago, I gently & lovingly cleaned the box and tray--first time, what a joy!--the tears helped. Shortly after cleaning it, I was going through some very old pictures in boxes, and found a picture--guess what?--wife B sitting by the tree, with the bright red tool box neatly placed to her side. I have been alone for six years after the passing of my beautiful wife, not easy!---God & Jesus have a way of reaching us all, we only have to listen--The Message is There!

  • Karen Schreiber

    12/30/2018 09:12 PM

    Thank you for the Christmas stories! Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

  • Rafael A Salaz

    12/30/2018 09:10 PM

    Johnson Kelly and others that have been fired or let go from their Jobs by Preasident Trump . They all seem to have some flimsy excuse on how they tried to guide the President in the right way etc. The President is the leader , and can and should have the freedom to change his mind on any issue . The press and others don’t like this. That’s just to bad .

  • Lionel Fannin

    12/30/2018 08:57 PM

    This is about the credits for your TV program. I've noticed that the credits don't include the back-up singers who I think do a really great job adding their voices supporting the featured vocalists.

  • James Hoppe

    12/30/2018 08:53 PM

    Time to audit the Pentagon. MORE THAN ENOUGH WASTE to finish the METAL BARRIER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Rafael A Salaz

    12/30/2018 08:51 PM

    It’s good to hear that Lindsay Graham has been more positive towards President Trump in some news lately. It’s to bad something can’t be done about the attitudes and negativeness of ABC, CBS. NBC and other net works. Their reporting is slander and put downs and lies . This includes the News Papers. The Democrats lost the election . They are acting like they got voted in place of the President him self.

  • Jeannie MacAdams

    12/30/2018 08:46 PM

    Such beautiful stories! Thanks for sharing them <3

  • Bernadette Dillon

    12/30/2018 08:18 PM

    Happy New year Governor Huckabee?? may God Bless you and keep you and your family in the palm of His Hand.
    Bernadette Dillon

  • Tawanna Sinclair

    12/30/2018 08:04 PM

    Thank you again for the touching stories. I love them.
    One year when i was widowed and my widowed mom was living with me in a very small house, it was just going to be a Christmas without a tree, or much of anything else. Before long, my youngest son knocked at the door with a skimpy tree that he dubbed the Charlie Brown tree. Along with the tree he brought scissors, construction paper, glue, and we sat and made a chain and funny ornaments for the tree, with my mom making the funniest looking star that adorned the top of the tree. She is gone now, but that is one of my favorite Christmases.

  • Keethlyn Fletcher

    12/30/2018 07:57 PM

    My mom was 88 when she passed away. It was December 15th. I had gotten Christmas cards for her and had intended to help her fill them out and get them in the mail but that was not to be.
    In talking with my sister, I mentioned the Christmas cards ,and she and I decided to fill them out and place $10 dollars in each card with the inscription Merry Christmas love Gramma Siddy. It was the last Christmas card but possibly the most memorable.

  • Carol Kenzy

    12/30/2018 07:46 PM

    Please consider compiling all these beautiful stories into your next best-seller book. We would definitely read them. You have shared Christmas miracles that have stood the test of time. Thank you for adding the spirit of Christmas to our Christmas, reminding us all Whose birthday we are really celebrating!

  • Stephen Russell

    12/30/2018 07:46 PM

    Do these stories each year & TBN 2 Awesome.
    Hallmark Moments for sure