Evening Edition - December 28

December 28, 2019 |

This time of year, one of the many great holiday songs we always hear is the late, great Glenn Campbell’s “Christmas Is For Children.” That sentiment was also on the minds of many of my radio listeners whose most treasured memories of Christmas were tied to childhood – either their kids’ childhoods or their own.

Some were of the “Kids Say The Darnedest Things” variety.  For instance, Joe from Georgia recalled when his son was 7, their church had a pancake breakfast with a “Happy Birthday Jesus” cake for the kids, and the Lord’s Supper for adults during the Christmas Eve service.  His son tugged his sleeve and asked, “Dad, why am I allowed to eat the Lord’s Breakfast but not His supper?” 

An eternal theological question, my son!

There's something about the excitement of Christmas that makes children even more hilariously discombobulated.  Cleve from New Mexico wrote, "At our house, we always opened our presents on Christmas morning. I remember the first year my daughters were really, really, really looking forward to Christmas.  On Christmas Eve morning, they jumped out of bed, ran into the kitchen, and hollered, 'Today's the night we get up in the morning!!'"  Well, they were right: it was! 

Dolores from Texas recalled that during the Depression, her parents gave her and her sister Betsy Wetsy dolls, and made a little suitcase and a whole wardrobe for them.  Dolores said it was the “best Christmas ever!”  The girls were so excited, they didn’t even realize until years later that those were actually their old dolls, all cleaned up.  The moral: To a child, a gift doesn’t have to be new…just new to THEM.   

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?’” 

When you “give till it hurts,” as some people put it, it can actually feel pretty good. Thank you, Claudine, for reminding us that sometimes, parents can learn from children.

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BettyJean from California had a favorite childhood Christmas memory that reminds us not to look a gift horse in the mouth.  She wrote:

"I was born in 1928 in a small town in Montana. My mother died in 1929... (and) we were very poor...One Christmas my friend, Rex, whose parents had a restaurant in town, gave me a beautifully wrapped present. I was SOOOO EXCITED! Christmas Eve, my brother and I unwrapped our two presents. My brother watched me unwrap mine: a box of candy.  And I can still hear him, 70 years later...yelling out, "DAAAAAD! THERE'S A PIECE GONE!!!!!"

I guess that proves little boys haven't really changed much in all these years! 

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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 that 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 began calling 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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Christmas is a time for prayers and miracles, and one often follows the other.  Rosalin from Virginia shared a story that proves God sometimes shows a very personal interest in us, if we’ll just ask Him into our lives.  She wrote:

"Years ago, when our children were younger, we ran into hard times. It was a Wednesday morning, and Christmas was on Saturday.  We had no money for Christmas gifts and no savings in the bank. My husband was home without work as a carpenter.  He suggested we join hands and pray, which we did.

Three hours later, friends of ours called from New York to tell us that they'd received a large Christmas bonus from work, and God put our family on their hearts. They told us they'd sent us $350 through Western Union...not knowing of our situation. We picked up the check and went Christmas shopping.  It was a GREAT lesson my children will NEVER forget!" 

Thank you, Rosalin.  That's a great story that none of us will ever forget! 

 

* * * * *

 

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.  

 

 

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Comments 1-25 of 29

  • Ellen Engleman Conners

    02/16/2020 12:53 PM

    Governor — just watched your show where you introduced the movie “First Lady” — this movie is a remake — not an new original script — please see the following:

    First Lady is a 1937 film about behind-the-scenes political maneuverings in Washington, D.C. directed by Stanley Logan and starring Kay Francis, Preston Foster, Anita Louise, Walter Connolly and Verree Teasdale. Francis and Teasdale portray bitter rivals in their pursuit of the titular role of First Lady. The picture is based on the play of the same name by George S. Kaufman and Katharine Dayton.

  • Paula Teague

    12/30/2019 05:24 PM

    Oh my heart!!!!! God shows his love in so many ways! Thanks for the stories??

  • Mary Tomlin

    12/29/2019 02:37 PM

    My favorite Christmas memory: My family returned from my dad's army assignment in Germany. It was 1955. My dad's pay got messed up and Christmas was upon us. My older sister and I bathed dolls, washed and ironed used doll clothes for our baby sister. My dad painted a table and chairs which had belonged to us when we were little. This still stands out as one of our favorite Christmas's.

  • MARGARET ROBBINS

    12/29/2019 09:07 AM

    Just read your Christmas stories. Glad I did. I cried.

    We were terribly poor. Dad died in a fire that destroyed all the possessions we had. I was 9, sister 5, and baby
    brother 1.
    Lived with Grandpa and Uncle for a long time. Only income was from Uncle Roy's cotton mill job.
    One Christmas we loyally hung our stockings. Next morning, we all had an orange. We thought it was wonderful. In my later years, I wondered how Mama managed to get even the oranges. She tried her best for us!

  • Debra Lindblom

    12/29/2019 03:53 AM

    Thank you for the stories. When I was 15, we had moved from Detroit to my Great Grandparents homestead we had purchased. Construction had bottomed out and my parents felt it best to move to the UP of Michigan. My Dad had no job. Money was tight. We had no money for Christmas. We all made our gifts for each other. Years later reading my old diary from that Christmas. I had wrote we didn’t have much but we had our family. We had a beautiful venison dinner with vegetables we had grown in our garden that were stored in the cellar. We sang Christmas hymns, and went and fed our animals in the barn carrots at midnight. Beautiful Christmas.

  • Leon Epperly

    12/29/2019 03:46 AM

    WOW!!
    I've been there. I'm seventy-four, and when we lost our oldest and precious son, Wesley, suddenly two years ago... a part of me went with him. He was such a loving son that many times he would often give me something on no particular occasion just because he wanted me to have it. He was like that. I so cherish everything he gave me... they are a part of him. Those memories always bring tears.

  • Catherine Fortin

    12/28/2019 11:57 PM

    Both of my parents are long deceased, but whenever I hear the Christmas hymn, O Holy Night, I tear up because it was my father's favorite. When my mother passed away, I found an envelope with money and notes on each
    Bill saying it came from my father for different occasions.
    Mom never spent the money and I still have it. I can't spend it either.

  • Rebecca Hockridge

    12/28/2019 10:00 PM

    Thanks for all you do! Refreshing stories I hope they bless some hearts. Often in our busy lives the most precious gift we can give is that of time. Take time today with loved ones to slow down and enjoy the moment. Peace and blessings in the coming year! ??

  • Charlotte Brees

    12/28/2019 09:20 PM

    I saw your show on TBN tonight 1/28. It was so inspiring. Thank you for being on TBN. I'm going to watch again at 9pm

  • Mary Pfadenhauer

    12/28/2019 09:14 PM

    Thank you so much for sharing these beautiful stories of kindness and generosity even in abject poverty. It is not the gift, it is the love behind the gift that matters most of all.

  • Susan Waycaster

    12/28/2019 09:08 PM

    Beautiful memories. Thanks for sharing

  • gary stilwell

    12/28/2019 08:52 PM

    Mr. Huckabee,
    Thank you for the stories--
    I would offer here that "it's about what we give" is certainly not confined to Christmas--Jesus did not limit this teaching to his birthday--it was something to be practiced at all times--
    somehow, I have not seen any such stories from the likes of pelosi/nadler/schiff-or mcconnel/----or even our own President(there are examples from some moral folks--such as Crenshaw)--but essentially the bulk of politicians seem not to bother) What does that tell you?

  • Jack W. Baldwin

    12/28/2019 08:45 PM

    Thank you sir, for posting these comments. They make this old man's eyes water. I too remember hard times 65+ years ago, but the love of God was present then as now. Praying for you and your family every day. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  • Peggy S Nelson

    12/28/2019 08:25 PM

    These stories warm my heart. I live alone and don't always hear from family so reading these stories was a gift to me. Thank you for sharing them.

  • Janet Senatore

    12/28/2019 07:52 PM

    Thank you. Christmas is hard, for I am the last left of my family. So, at holiday time I remember my parents, my aunt, uncle, and cousin, and my child as well. My husband (not my child’s father) is estranged from much of his family. However, we have adopted our 91 year old neighbor as our “Aunt” Vesta, so she has family and so do we. Happy New Year!

  • Amelia Little

    12/28/2019 07:40 PM

    What heartwarming stories!! Thank you so much. I have really enjoyed a week of just feel good stories. Hope you and your are still enjoying your week off.

  • Shirley

    12/28/2019 07:31 PM

    Do you think the dems will wait to deliver the impeachment to our great president during his state of the union speech

  • Alice Lanfolt

    12/28/2019 07:30 PM

    Thank you for sharing these memories from various people. Many brought tears to my eyes. How very special.
    My dad made the star for our Christmas tree out of a pie tin, poking holes in it and attaching a small light bulb behind it. I have treasured it as a memory of him and his creativity. We read Bible verses when we turned on the light.

  • Kay DeWitt

    12/28/2019 07:17 PM

    I have been SO moved by these stories, any endeavor I make to try and EXPLAIN what I am feeling will only scratch the surface OF what I am feeling so I won't even try.....which, in and of itself, is a miracle in view of the length of most of the comments I write that are usually authored BY the feelings of my heart!

  • Ray Cowden Witter

    12/28/2019 07:17 PM

    Wonderful Memories of life.
    Thank You,
    Happy New Year, and many blessings.

  • Arthur Rabin

    12/28/2019 06:54 PM

    I'm not a Christian, but those are great stories. Thank you.

  • William Taylor

    12/28/2019 06:40 PM

    From a questioning, political independent, thank you for the shared Christmas stories! May there be peace on earth and good will to men all year long!

  • Cari Morrison

    12/28/2019 06:21 PM

    Reading this stories reminded me of something that I'd forgotten. I think I was 11 or 12. I'd gone shopping with my dad and we went to the one real department store in our small town. Daddy saw a full set of dishes - probably 6 or 8 complete place settings of Blue Ridge Southern Pottery, which Mom loved. He bought the whole set - and extravagant gift we probably couldn't afford - and made me promise to not tell anyone about it. Keeping the secret and anticipating Mom opening that gift on Christmas morning made me giddy with joy. I could hardly wait for Christmas! That was the year I understood for the first time that the best part of Christmas gifts was giving not receiving. It was a huge turning point in my life.

  • Terry R Welsh

    12/28/2019 06:15 PM

    A blessing to read

  • Gerry Davis

    12/28/2019 06:07 PM

    I love the stories that you have shared with us. I was born during the depression and we didn't have much, but my parents always saw to it that I got one big thing, like a doll. I got a stocking with chocolate creams, orange, apple and nuts. All my neighbor friends got about the same, but we were happy children and didn't expect a whole lot. My parents divorced when I was about 7 or 8 and Christmas was never the same. I have a lot of sad and happy memories, but God has brought me through it all, very blessed.