THE EVENING EDITION By Mike Huckabee
Good evening! Here are some stories from me that I think you will want to read.
DAILY BIBLE VERSE
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Back in 2011, inspired by my book “A Simple Christmas,” I asked listeners of my radio show “The Huckabee Report” to share their own favorite family Christmas memories. Some are heartwarming, and some are hilarious, but all of them are inspiring and wonderful.
1. A Kid At Christmas:
Melvin from Oregon wrote to share memories of a couple Christmases that were made very special, thanks to a grandfather who obviously never forgot what it was like to be a kid at Christmas.
“Christmas 1944: I am four years old and my dad is still overseas, so mom and I are staying with my grandparents. Christmas eve, it's time for me to hang up my sock. I'm just getting ready to hang it on the mantle when grandpa comes in. He has a giant sock and a big metal wash tub. I ask him what he is doing, and this is what he tells me:
‘I'm going to hang this big old sock up.’ He hangs his sock up then he puts the wash tub under the sock. He shows me that there is a hole in the toe of the sock, and it has a tennis ball in the hole. He then tells me that ‘when Santa comes tonight he will start putting good stuff in his big old sock, and the tennis ball will fall out.’ Santa will keep stuffing his sock and the presents will fall into the wash tub, and he will get way more stuff than I will in my little old sock.
Well, I'm only four years old, but I know this ain't right. I go running to grandma and tell her that grandpa is going to cheat Santa. Grandma says, ‘Don't worry, because I know that Santa is much smarter than your grandpa is.’ So I go off to bed, but I am not happy.
Christmas morning comes. I run downstairs and see that my grandpa has a sour look on his face. I see my sock has all kinds of good stuff in it. I look at grandpa’s sock, and the wash tub is full. It has an old rubber boot with a big hole in it, a big half-rotten squash, some chunks of coal, an old broken shovel etc., etc. I guess grandma was right after all. Santa is smarter than grandpa.”
The next year, Melvin’s grandpa was still putting creativity into Christmas…
“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. 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. It’s not so much the gift that we remember years later, but the person who loved us enough to give it to us that matters.
2. The Best Gift:
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.
3. Christmas Can Touch Our Souls In Unexpected Ways:
Deborah from Austin reminds us that Christmas can touch our souls in unexpected and lasting ways:
“It was Christmas Eve, and the man I was dating and I were out all day finishing his shopping. When it got to be evening, I said I was going to Christmas Eve service and invited him to go with me. He said he wasn't ready to go back to church because he hadn't changed his life.
I asked him again and told him, ‘You're not going to change your life until you go back to church.’ I left him and headed off to attend the service by myself.
As I took my seat, I'd never felt so alone. I was looking down and someone sat beside me. I looked at his shoes and then up. It was him. He told me he just couldn't let me be by myself on Christmas Eve. The next year, on Christmas Eve, we were married…It has always been, and now even more so, my favorite day of the year.”
4. The Best Gift Part II:
Dale from Illinois shared a memory of when his family asked for no gifts, but got the best gift ever:
“My most memorable Christmas was the one that I asked for no gifts. We didn't decorate or even put up a tree. Seven weeks earlier, we had a new grandson. He was born with heart problems and was airlifted to a hospital in Peoria, Illinois, where they did heart surgery on newborns. He spent the first five weeks of his life in Intensive Care after two open heart surgeries.
My wife and I were so grateful to God for our grandson that we accepted him as our gift. There was nothing that could compete with God's gift of healing. Our grandson made a wonderful Christmas.”
5. 2021 HUCKABEE NEWSLETTER HOLIDAY ENTERTAINMENT GUIDE
I’ve never been a fan of political boycotts of entertainment products, which can hurt workers who have nothing to do with the woke views that studio executives or stars spew. But I understand why many conservatives might not want to give their entertainment dollars to people who call them racists and want to put them in reeducation camps.
Still, we all need some entertainment to take our minds off of politics for a while, and to give to like-minded folks on our gift lists.
That’s why, last year, we created a list of entertainment gift options created by people who deserve your support (the original 2020 gift guide is here, and there are many albums, movies, comedy DVDs, downloads and more in it that are still great options for this Christmas).
Books and music from the "Huckabee" Family
To start, let me give a nod to my projects and those of my family and my newsletter family, who have some side projects that would make terrific Christmas gifts.
My latest book is “The Three Cs That Made America Great: Christianity, Capitalism and the Constitution.” Get it while all three are still legal: https://www.amazon.com/Three-That-Made-America-Great/dp/1647733049.
You also can’t go wrong with my perennial and non-political Christmas bestseller, “A Simple Christmas”:
…And my book for children, “Can’t Wait ‘Till Christmas,” with terrific illustrations by Jed Henry: https://www.amazon.com/Cant-Wait-Till-Christmas-Huckabee/dp/0399255397.
For one of the few books that gives you a real insider look behind the scenes of the Trump Administration, pick up my daughter Sarah’s bestseller, “Speaking for Myself: Faith, Freedom and the Fight of Our Lives Inside the Trump White House.”
Following Sarah in that job was my friend Kayleigh McEneny, who started out working on my Fox News show. She’s also written a terrific new book called “For Such A Time As This: My Faith Journey Through the White House and Beyond.”
My longtime writer/researchers, Laura Ainsworth and Pat Reeder (husband and wife, despite the different professional names), also have some great projects that make perfect gifts.
Laura is a retro jazz singer whose late father Billy Ainsworth played with Tommy Dorsey, Freddy Martin and other top big bands. She has three terrific CDs so far (her debut, “Keep It To Yourself;” the film noir-inspired “Necessary Evil;” and the multi-award-winning “New Vintage”) plus an audiophile vinyl best-of LP, “Top Shelf,” all cut with some of the top jazz musicians in Texas. That best-of LP was recently turned into an expanded, remastered deluxe CD in Japan, which is available as an import in the US only through Laura’s website.
If you like gorgeous vocals and sophisticated midcentury-style lounge jazz in the Julie London/Peggy Lee mode, you’ll love Laura. One critic called her “a brilliant interpreter of song” and “one of the most talented and entertaining vocalists – of any genre or era – on the music scene today!” https://geoffwilburmusic.com/2021/11/04/laura-ainsworth-top-shelf/
Her website is www.lauraainsworth.com and her albums and merchandise, including the great new imported Japanese CD, are available here: https://shop.bandwear.com/collections/laura-ainsworth-shop.
For a taste, here’s Laura singing a classic Mills Brothers tune from “New Vintage” with Tre Corley and the Music City Connection: https://youtu.be/AGorRNgp4t4.
Before they joined me, Pat and Laura wrote their own topical radio service, The Comedy Wire. They used over 600 hilarious-but-true news stories from it to illustrate nine dumb mistakes everyone makes for their fall-down-funny self-help spoof, “Nine Hallmarks of Highly Incompetent Losers” (I wrote the foreword.) If you like “In Case You Missed It,” you’ll love this book.
Laura also co-wrote with her friend, singer/songwriter Bill Sanner, a memoir of his years on a US Navy submarine in the ‘70s. “The Sub-Par Adventures of Snakebite and Stonefinger” is a funny and moving glimpse into the rarely-revealed lives of Navy submariners. They’re out of touch with their loved ones for months at a time, on the far side of the world and under the ocean, sometimes pulling pranks to keep themselves sane. The book was embraced by submariners who invited Laura and Bill to entertain at their national convention. It’s a perfect gift for submariners, or any Navy vets or military family members.
Finally, Tre Corley and the Music City Connection bring incredible music to the show every week as they back all our famous guest stars (I think they’re the best band on any show in television.) But they also occasionally honor us with a full number of their own. Recently, they performed their new Christmas single, “A Silent Night,” with the great Christian vocal group, 3 Oaks Worship: https://youtu.be/u4wKJCIpOXE.
You can download that song and Tre and the MCC’s other single “In The Meantime,” featuring vocalist Tyler Summers, here: https://music.apple.com/us/album/in-the-meanwhile-feat-tyler-summers-single/1596518996.
And 3 Oaks Worship’s MP3 album, “A Psalm Twenty-Four Experience,” is available for download at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Psalm-Twenty-Four-Experience-Oaks-Worship/dp/B09JB5YKSX.
MOVIES THAT YOU SAW ON “HUCKABEE” IN 2021
“The Chosen” - This must-see streaming series may be the best screen adaptation of the life of Christ ever. Series creator Dallas Jenkins and star Jonathan Roumie visited the show to preview season two: https://youtu.be/pvKp7gIWHgM. Both seasons are now available on DVD at Amazon.com, and you can learn more about the series and the next season at https://watch.angelstudios.com/thechosen
“Church People” – Christian comedian/actor/writer Thor Ramsey gave us a sneak peek at his inspiring comedy/drama movie debut: https://youtu.be/HEx4diocGSc. It’s now available for streaming at https://churchpeoplefilm.com.
“The Man From Nowhere” - Nick Searcy, the bravely outspoken conservative actor, dropped by to promote his new movie, “The Man from Nowhere:” https://youtu.be/UmHovB4UUus. Now available on DVD and Blu Ray: https://manfromnowheremovie.com.
(Incidentally, we haven’t discussed this movie on the show, but Nick Search also created a documentary called “Capitol Punishment” that argues that the FBI is using terror tactics against participants in the January 6th protests to frighten Americans into silence. This will really make him popular in Hollywood! Buy it for streaming here: https://movies.westernjournal.com/programs/cp-b2dcd9/
“Mayberry Man” - Our pal Rik Roberts brought his fantastic Barney Fife impression to this heartwarming comedy inspired by “The Andy Griffith Show.” Floyd The Barber (Allan Newsome) also stopped by to chew the fat: https://youtu.be/u43z622wKac. It’s available at https://www.mayberrymanmovie.com.
“Stallone, Frank That Is” – This documentary finally gives Sly’s underappreciated but very talented brother, and my 2021 musical guest, his due. You can see the trailer and buy it from your favorite streaming sites at https://www.stallonemovie.com.
“Stand On It” - “Dukes of Hazzard” and country music star John Schneider told us about “Stand On It,” his new movie inspired by “Smokey and the Bandit”: https://youtu.be/WBpadzHOSAY. You can get it on DVD, along with his other movies and his autobiography, at https://live.johnschneiderstudios.com/products/stand-on-it-by-john-schneider.
TOMORROW WE WILL LOOK AT MUSIC AND COMEDY
6. Prayer Tree:
We are stronger together. Submit your prayer request for HEALTH & HEALING or IN MEMORIAM by visiting my website here.
Our hope is that our newsletter readers and social media followers will consider these prayer requests each day.
HEALTH AND HEALING
"Please pray for my father Bruce who is in chronic pain and we don’t know why. Also please pray for my brother Corey who will be having neck surgery in the next few months."
"My father and my friend the first is 87 and the other is 88; both are in poor health my father isn’t eat or walking any longer and my friend isn’t saved an has recently had a major heart attack and difficulty he is an injured war veteran Korean and Vietnam. Thank you and God Bless"
"My mom Alice."
"Please pray for Elizabeth a loyal, dedicated, humble, servant of the Lord and our church. She was diagnosed with liver cancer last week. She has also suffered from seizures for most of her life, if not all."
"Gregg severe drug addiction, that he will receive help and healing."
"Our 8 year old grandson Liam was diagnosed with leukemia. Request prayers for his recovery. He started chemo today and will have treatments every day for four weeks."
"Please pray for my daughter-in-law Crystal and her 2 sisters and family. Their mother Carol passed away Thursday. Their hearts are broken as are ours. Carol was 62. ??????"
7. I Just Wanted To Say:
Thank you for reading.