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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!

The story of Christmas is, at its heart, the story of the world’s joy at the birth of a baby. So it’s no wonder many people develop a deeper appreciation of Christmas after having children of their own.

Rod and Amy from North Carolina recalled that over 25 years ago, they were filling out paperwork to adopt a child from Korea. They wrote:

“Our then-3-year-old prayed every night that her baby would be home for Christmas, and she told everyone who asked that she was getting a little sister for Christmas. When Christmas came and went and we still hadn't heard from the adoption agency, we feared our little one's faith in a God who hears our prayers would be weakened.

But then, in February, we got the long-awaited call telling us about a gorgeous little girl named Joo Bin. Imagine our amazement, joy, and awe when we heard her birthday was…December 24. We had NO DOUBT she was ours!”

Thank you, Rod and Amy. And I’m sure you’ve never had a doubt in all the years since. Now, here’s another story about a baby that proves the best Christmas gifts come in small packages.

Mary B. Walsh of the nostalgic and inspiring “Dear Baby Boomer” blog (I highly recommend you check it out at http://dearbabyboomer.blogspot.com) shared this special memory of another child who appeared at Christmas. It was 1956, and Mary was five years old. Six glittering stockings were hung on the mantle. The kids circled the piano and sang as Dad played “Joy to the World” and “O Come All Ye Faithful.” Mary wrote:

“Snow was falling silently, draping our familiar world in soft flannel...It would be a white Christmas for sure! A muffled voice broke through the darkness. The playing stopped as we stood motionless, hoping to hear it once again.

‘It's a BOY! We have a BOY!‘

Dad threw open the window and a gust of chilly winter air swept in the joyous news. Our neighbor leaned out the window, waving her arms ecstatically, heralding the birth of her great grandson. Jimmy John would be a welcome addition to the family of three daughters! Waiting hot chocolate topped off the excitement before heading up to bed.

As I lay awake, gazing out at the full winter moon. I pondered the words we had sung... ‘Joy to the world...The Lord is come...Let earth receive her King...’ An only son had been born tonight, bringing joy which could not be contained. They wanted to share it with the world...Kind of like the angels so long ago. God's only son, born on a night such as this...Yet more than just a babe He was...

I thought back a year, remembering my oldest brother pointing out the silhouette of Santa's reindeer crossing in front of the moon out my window. I was sure I saw it too! How could I sleep? But this year was different. I closed my eyes and slept so peacefully... I was not looking for reindeer...for I had heard the angels sing!”

Thank you for sharing that beautifully written story, Mary. And I wonder if one more coincidence occurred to you? That the person who gave us this inspiring story of a precious child born on Christmas Day was named “Mary.”

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.

This time of year, one of the many great holiday songs we always hear is the late, great Glen 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.

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!

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.

Merry Christmas

December 25, 2020

I chose this story for Christmas Day because it proves that Christmas is a time for miracles. Not just the miracles that happened 2,000 years ago, but those that God is showing us every day if we just open our eyes and our hearts to see them.

A listener named Sheila from Oklahoma wrote to me:

"I was diagnosed with Hodgkins' Disease lymphoma and felt I had been given a death sentence. I believed it was the last time I would celebrate my young son's birthday, my last Thanksgiving and my last Christmas. So everything about Christmas was vital to me. I hand-wrote personal messages to everyone on my card list, carefully selected and wrapped gifts and insisted on decorating my home alone with my son, in spite of chemotherapy.

The tree was a full-day endeavor because I was fatigued, and, of course, I had to cherish the memories of each special ornament. The two of us struggled with the lights but were almost finished with the entire tree. I had sat down to rest (when) my son announced, 'Mom! The lights went out!'...

I know it is trivial, but it just knocked the wind out of me. I bowed my head and cried because changing the lights meant undecorating the whole tree, and I just didn't have the energy.

'Lord,' I prayed. 'I can't do this. I need this Christmas, but I can't do this.'

Then I heard my son gasp, and I looked up to see all the lights were on again. And they stayed lit throughout Advent to Epiphany. For this and many reasons, my first Christmas with cancer was my best ever."

Thank you, Sheila, for that terrific story that contained two miracles. A simple one reminiscent of Hanukkah, in which the lights stayed on as a message that you were not alone.

And the second miracle: that story was about the Christmas of 1995. Sheila wrote to me to share it in 2011 -- 16 years after she thought she'd seen her final Christmas. Sheila, wherever you are now, I hope and pray that you are still healthy and happy, and sharing that wonderful story with everyone you meet.

Merry Christmas!

Joe from Oklahoma shared a special Christmas memory that sounds like something the dad in “A Christmas Story” might have pulled. Joe still vividly recalled when he was seven, and he and his two siblings rushed downstairs expecting to find stockings and gifts. Instead, they found mayhem. A toppled glass of milk, chairs thrown around, and the tree on its side.

They rushed to wake their parents, who came downstairs with crafty smiles. Joe’s dad was a police officer. He told them Santa had spilled the milk, refused to clean up after himself, and was rude to him. This had sparked a tussle that spilled out into the back yard. Then he pointed out a pile of dirt in the back yard the size of a fresh grave. Joe assured the kids that Santa escaped alive…but he said, “Rudolph will never (relieve himself) on our roof again.”

Well, I must admit, that’s one original way to create a lifelong Christmas memory for your kids! Or maybe just to scar them for life. Either way, it was unforgettable!

Annette from Texas also shared a funny Christmas memory that’s taken on serious meaning over the years.

Around the time she and her twin sister were teenagers in Pascagoula, Mississippi, in the late ‘50s, a tradition started in their small Baptist church to create a living Nativity scene. Members would dress up as all the characters of the Nativity, so that cars could drive by in reverence and awe and see the Christmas story in 3D. It took months of work, part of which was coaching teenagers on how to “be still and know God.”

However, they never could teach the live animals to be still and know God, so it could be pretty nerve-wracking, trying to stand motionless next to a live camel or goat with some less-than-reverent ideas of its own.

Luckily, Annette was given a very special role that didn’t require any animal wrangling, but it had its own unique hazards. She wrote:

“I was the angel on high – 20 feet high to be exact…When the angel climbed rickety, dark stairs at the back of the makeshift manger stall, the act itself took such fortitude and perseverance that the spotlight on her was snuffed every 15 minutes and a new angel would appear as fast as she could safely make that climb.

I prayed for all I was worth: not to fall, not to faint, and not to freeze to death…a few blocks from the Gulf, we never knew if we would have freezing cold or temps so hot at Christmas we could have worn bikinis under our angel attire – IF that would not have been a sin…But I digress. We were told that angels could not move a muscle. Even if the nose itched (or some other place), or if we felt a sneeze coming on, we HAD to remain perfectly still...Being 20 feet off the ground with arms outstretched for 15 minutes and a thin wooden support-cross hidden behind me in my white robe, I couldn't help but know—or pray for—God's presence.”

Annette said she didn’t remember having any epiphanies back then. But time and again over the years, when she needed guidance or to trust that things would work out, or to know that stillness can bring a peace that passes all understanding, she’s thought back to what she learned from her scary job, dangling over the Nativity Scene. As she put it:

“God reveals Himself to us in His son through His Holy Spirit. And I don’t need angel wings or a halo to fly to His presence. Just that hidden cross of support.”

Evening Edition - December 24

December 24, 2020

December 24, 2020      

Good evening! Today's Evening Edition includes:

  • The best gift this Christmas is giving to others
  • Movies You Don't Want To Miss
  • Sometimes Santa deserves hazardous duty pay
  • The greatest gift
  • 'The Hungry Times'

Thank you again for subscribing!  If you wish to use a browser to read my evening newsletter, please go here. And if you have a moment, wish other Evening Edition readers a Merry Christmas by using the link above!

Sincerely,

Mike Huckabee

The best gift this Christmas is giving to others

By Mike Huckabee

On Christmas, we celebrate the birth of the One who told us, “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” But on holidays like this that emphasize parties and socializing, many people feel lonely or abandoned. This year, even people who normally get invitations may be feeling lonely and isolated. They may not realize how many people really do care about them. Let this story from Linda in North Carolina be a reminder:

"Several years ago, we had a family up the hill who were having a very rough time. They had broken glass in their windows, no heat and no prospects for a nice Christmas.

We got neighbors together and one day when they were gone, the men went up and put in new glass, bought heaters and warmed up their trailer and went to get them a Christmas tree. The ladies and kids made ornaments, went to stores and got donations of toys and clothing, food and electric blankets. We all met at the trailer, cooked, decorated, put up the tree, wrapped packages, and made beds with the new blankets then went to our home to wait for them to return.

A while later, the family came running down the hill in the snow and flew into our house, trying to tell us through tears what someone had done. The mother couldn't believe that so many people cared about them. She didn't realize it, but being able to do that for them made Christmas very special for all of us.”

Thank you, Linda, for that perfect story to remind us that the gifts that give us the most satisfaction aren’t those we get, but the ones we give to others.

Movies you don't want to miss

By Mike Huckabee

Not all movies are CGI smash-‘em-ups or dramas about how evil and greedy business people are. Some great movies are now being made for conservative, Christian and pro-life audiences. Here are a few you shouldn’t miss and that would make excellent gifts for your like-minded friends and relatives. 
 
 
Climate Hustle 2”: This documentary casts a skeptical eye on apocalyptic climate change predictions. Narrated by Kevin Sorbo, who with his wife Sam is one of the best friends of our show. Kevin is leading a box office revolution by producing and acting in a number of high quality, faith-based films. You can check out all his projects at www.kevinsorbo.net and get “Climate Hustle 2” on DVD here: www.climatehustle2.com
  
 
Divided Hearts of America”: NFL great Benjamin Watson visited “Huckabee” to discuss his documentary on the divide over abortion. His books are at www.thewatsonseven.com and you can purchase the film as a streaming download at https://salemnow.com/divided-hearts-of-america/   
 
 
Free Burma Rangers”: A gripping documentary about a Christian humanitarian organization that faces impossible odds to rescue children in war zones. Available as a download: https://www.amazon.com/Free-Burma-Rangers-David-Eubank/dp/B0876N9341
God’s Not Dead 2”: How could I not include the movie I was actually in? The entire three-film “God’s Not Dead” series is now available in a single DVD collection: https://www.amazon.com/Gods-Not-Dead-3-Movie-Collection/dp/B07DVM7QHZ
  
Gosnell”: This 2018 real-life horror film about abortionist/serial killer Kermit Gosnell was directed by Nick Searcy, an actor so good he continues landing great roles in Hollywood despite his in-your-face conservative beliefs. The media tried to hide this film, the same way they tried to hide Gosnell's crimes, but they failed both times. “Gosnell” is on DVD here: https://www.amazon.com/Gosnell-Americas-Biggest-Serial-Killer/dp/B07KBQN1MM 
 
At his website, Nick Searcy also sells boxes of his own fine cigars: http://www.nicksearcy.com  
He’s building a pro-America, family-friendly Netflix-like streaming entertainment service free of politics and leftist Hollywood gatekeepers. Target launch date is next March, and it will be called Creado, so watch out for that. 
 
 
Home Sweet Home”: Stars Natasha Bure and Ben Elliot dropped by “Huckabee” to promote this light, fun romantic comedy with an underlying Christian message. Available as a download here: https://www.amazon.com/Home-Sweet-Natasha-Bure/dp/B084X4P3KN/ 
…Or with a subscription to PureFlix, the streaming service with hundreds of family-friendly and faith-based films: https://app.pureflix.com/videos/311474214649/home-sweet-home  
 
 
I Am Patrick: The Patron Saint of Ireland”: A stunning, faith-based historical biography filmed in the actual places where it happened. Star John Rhys-Davies visited “Huckabee” to talk about it. Now available on DVD, only at www.iampatrick.com
 
 
I Can Only Imagine”: The mega-hit based on the true story behind the biggest-selling Christian single of all time, written by MercyMe lead singer Bart Millard about his relationship with his father. The 2018 Dove Award winner for “Inspirational Film of the Year.” https://www.amazon.com/Can-Only-Imagine-Madeline-Carroll/dp/B07BLJ4MD7 
 
 
I Still Believe”: The inspiring true story of Christian music star Jeremy Camp and how his faith was tested by tragedy. Featuring Huck’s Hero Gary Sinese: https://www.amazon.com/I-Still-Believe-Gary-Sinise/dp/B085RR61P9 
 
 
Infidel”: One of the most powerful faith-based dramas of the year, starring “The Passion of the Christ’s” Jim Caviezel. It’s still in theaters but will be available to buy streaming on December 1st or preorder the DVD available December 15, both at www.infidel911.com.  
 
 
Jesus”: The spectacular Broadway-style production seen by over 1 million people, filmed in front of a live audience (originally a Fathom Event.) https://www.sight-sound.com/store/95 
Trailer for “Jesus”: https://youtu.be/Wrbpv7LRknE 
 
 
No Safe Spaces”: Possibly the most important documentary of the year, as Adam Carolla, Dennis Prager and other guests take on campus speech police and rising threats to our First Amendment rights.  To stream the film or get it on DVD, visit www.nosafespaces.com.
 
 
The Last Full Measure”: One of the best dramas of the year, a true story of military heroism and deep state skullduggery, features an all-star cast, including my wonderfully gracious TV guest, Diane Lane. Now on DVD and Blu-Ray.   
 
Trump Card”: The latest documentary from conservative filmmaker/author Dinesh D’Souza is an expose of the socialism, corruption and gangsterization that now define the Democratic Party. You can order it on DVD, along with his books and other movies, at www.DineshDsouza.com
 
 
Unplanned”: The movie that Hollywood and social media tried and failed to abort, it’s the true story of former Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson, who had a pro-life conversion after seeing what abortion really was and how PP operates. With a great lead performance by Ashley Bratcher, who appeared on “Huckabee.” 
 
 
You Can’t Take My Daughter”: The true story of Analyn Megison, founder of Hope After Rape Conception, who fought to prevent her rapist from taking her baby. Available as a download from Amazon, the film also stars Kirstie Alley, who deserves our support after being viciously attacked by her former colleagues in Hollywood for supporting President Trump:  https://www.amazon.com/CANT-DAUGHTER-ANALYN-MEGISON-STORY/dp/B084V11VV2
 

Sometimes Santa deserves hazardous duty pay

By Mike Huckabee

Recently, police officers have become targets of hatred, assaults and even deadly violence. Right now is a perfect time to stop and reflect on the many ways in which police officers and other first responders such as firefighters and EMTs give up their holidays so that we can enjoy ours in safety. Many officers also go above and beyond the call of duty by performing incredible volunteer work. One of those was a listener of mine named Randy, a retired police sergeant from Wyoming. He shared a memory of a time when playing Santa Claus should have come with hazardous duty pay.

Randy wrote:

"For many years, it was my distinct pleasure to assume the role of 'real Santa' at Christmas time. Though my sleigh was still a black and white sedan, my uniform changed from dark blues to a genuine Santa suit. I appeared on Christmas Eve, right at bedtime, delivering toys to needy children as well as my fellow officers…who had small children. What made this all work was the 'understanding' of the parents to make sure the kids were close to the front window upon my arrival, that they were not allowed out on the porch (where I left their gifts) until I was out of sight, and under NO circumstances were any pets to be loose.

All the parents were following Santa's instructions to the letter...until I got to my Chief's house. I gently placed (his sons') gifts on the porch (and) began to shake the bells, anticipating three squashed, tiny faces peering into the frosty night, trying to catch a glimpse of Santa. To my surprise...No faces. I shook the bells harder and added a hearty ‘HO, HO, HO!’ Still, no faces.

Now in mid-‘HO,’ I heard the front door open and a small dog barking. 'For cryin' out loud,' I muttered, as I jumped toward the driveway. If only I'd remembered the small wire fence surrounding his wife's flower bed. There was no time to pick myself up, as I heard high-pitched giggles floating on the cold night air. A quick double combat roll placed me out of innocent eyes' way, underneath my boss's pickup truck."

Then Randy heard a noise that seemed to be very close: "I smelled the dog food on his breath a scant millisecond before he yapped out the alarm. The 'WHOA!' that jumped from my lips was cut painfully short as I rammed my head into the pickup's driveline... The thought crossed my mind to reach out and pinch off his little windpipe, but that seemed a bit ugly for Christmas Eve."

A pair of cowboy boots suddenly replaced the dog: "I recognized my boss's voice as the words, 'Merry Christmas, heh, heh, heh," settled onto the cold concrete... 'Merry Christmas, Chief,' I replied as a solitary drop of black engine oil struck me dead center in the forehead. 'THANKS FOR NOT TURNING ON THE PORCH LIGHT!'

I continued on my rounds, a black greasy racing stripe running from my white curly beard to my belt, a well-lubricated lump on my forehead. I finished just as a soft snow began to fall, covering everything in a glistening blanket of white. It seemed the perfect punctuation mark to end another Christmas on Patrol."

Thanks again for that great story, Randy. And thanks to all the police officers and other first responders and military members who go above and beyond, and sometimes even roll underneath, to keep us all safe during the holidays and all year ‘round.

The greatest gift

By Mike Huckabee

One of the hardest jobs a parent faces is answering all those questions kids ask that sometimes force us to think about things that hadn’t occurred to us as adults. Mary from Ohio wrote:

“Our 6-year-old grandson, Isaiah, who was adopted from Guatemala, posed this question to his parents: ‘Was Baby Jesus adopted?’ Wow! The answer is so deep, and leads to so many other Biblical references to adoption. Joseph wasn't Jesus' father - God was, but Joseph raised him here on Earth. When we accept Jesus, we're adopted into His Heavenly Family, so we're all brothers and sisters. When we become a member of Jesus' family, we're also adopted into the Family of His chosen people, the Jews. So...it seems to me, not only was Jesus adopted, He was the author of Adoption. From the mouths of babes.”

Thank you, Mary. I have a feeling that as that special little boy has grown up, he’s given your family a lot to think about and a lot to be thankful for. And here’s a story that highlights another aspect of adoption, from the other point of view:

Tia from Kansas wrote that Christmas was always the hardest time of year to face, until she discovered a very personal connection to the true meaning of Christmas:

"When I was 16, I was alone and scared on Christmas -- having a baby that I decided to give up for adoption. For years afterward, I didn't like Christmas and never did much during the season. But the Lord changed my heart, showing me that I gave a beautiful gift to some family, my only son, just like He did. I've enjoyed and celebrated Christmas ever since."

Thank you, Tia. I know your son's adoptive parents would thank you a million times over, if they could, for the greatest Christmas gift they ever received. I’m sure Mary from Ohio would agree.

'The Hungry Times'

By Mike Huckabee

These days, too many people are trying to take religion out of the Christmas season. It sometimes makes me think, “Forgive them, Lord, for they know not what they do…or what they’re missing.” Maybe this letter will make it clear.

A Reverend wrote to me from Malawi:

“After having been raised up in urban North American culture, it was refreshing, but also a bit disorientating, to spend my first Christmas in Africa in 2009. There was a Baptist Church of course, but no Christmas Trees and no caroling in the streets, and no mad dash to the Mall to buy presents. The mixed congregation of ex-pats and nationals who attended the Christmas Sunday service sang the carols we were accustomed to, but there appeared to be far less excitement…

This is the ‘Hungry Times’ when most folks, aside from us ex-pats, are living off of the stored up remnants of last year’s harvest, with an eye to how little there is left and how long until the next harvest comes in. Nevertheless, on the morning after Christmas, we were all called to return to the Church and bring food and clothing and the Word of God and prepare to visit Zomba Central Prison to distribute some hope and good cheer.

This Prison is a daunting facility built by Colonialists in the 1930's that, today, houses twice as many inmates as it was designed for. We shared the goods and the Gospel with inmates, in both men's wing and women's wing. And so, for me, began a ministry of Prison Chaplaincy in the Prisons of southern Malawi.

…It’s ‘Hungry Time" again, but I thank God that the inmates are hungry for the Gospel. In the six Prisons and Prison Farms where we work, we have seen over 240 decisions to accept Christ (including many from Muslim backgrounds) and 160 inmates Baptized and inmates are being transformed by the power of God. Some of those counseled before release are eager to return to their villages and tell others of the one who came as our Savior that first Christmas morning. And for that, I'll forever enjoy a different kind of Christmas.”

Thank you, Reverend, for sharing your unique Christmas experience with us. If you’d like to learn more about the fine work done by Emmanuel International Mission in Malawi and elsewhere, you can read about it online at www.EIM-US.org

BIBLE VERSE OF THE DAY