Tuesday, January 2, 2018

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It was before Christmas, and I went shopping for toys for my kids. Now you might not think there's anything unusual about that – unless you happen to know that all my kids are grown up now. But that doesn't mean they can't have one little spark of childhood left in them, right? For example, I always buy my daughter a doll for Christmas; I always have, I always will. And we've got one son who for a long time was a big fan of a certain Sesame Street character, and he had a collection of everything Ernie. Yeah, believe it or not! Well, there came a time when this Ernie toy was one of the hottest Christmas items on the market, and I wanted one for my son, the Ernie enthusiast. I discovered the toy in September in a store before it became an officially hot item. I held it in my hand. I could have bought it, but I said, "Naw, Christmas is a long way off. I can always get it later." Wrong! When "later" came, no more Ernies to be found.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

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I was learning to ride a bicycle, and my dad was my teacher. Across the street from our apartment was a schoolyard as big as a city block. Like most city schoolyards, it was all concrete, no grass. In the middle of that big expanse was the only obstacle for a bike-riding rookie-a big old metal flagpole. But how could anyone run into that when he had the whole schoolyard to learn in, right? It can be done. Yeah, there I was, wobbling along, trying to learn to keep my balance on two wheels with my dad just behind me. Suddenly I heard him saying, "Turn, boy." My hands were frozen to the handlebars. I was sure turning either way meant crashing on that hard concrete. Again, "Turn, son!" I was closing in on the flagpole. Now it was a desperate cry from the lips of a disbelieving father, "Turn or you're going to hit the pole!" Bonngggg! I hit the pole. I still have the chipped tooth to prove it.

Monday, December 25, 2017

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When I was growing up, Christmas was a double-header for me, because my birthday is just a few days before Christmas. Just in case you care, it's on the date that the Wright Brothers flew the first airplane successfully. So, with all the time I've spent on airplanes in my life, you gotta wonder if that's some kind of destiny thing. That's also the date of the Battle of the Bulge. Wait, no. Destiny again? But I've never had a complaint about when my birthday is. Nope! As a kid, I tried to turn that into an advantage by asking for a gift that would be too much for just Christmas but not for Christmas and your birthday. And besides cleaning up in the gift department, it's just neat to have a birthday at a time when all the world seems to be celebrating. I mean, I know they're not celebrating my birthday obviously, but it's just the best time of year!

Friday, December 22, 2017

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It's been used by many a parent to intimidate their children into being good for at least one month of the year. It's that list, you know, the one immortalized in the song, "Santa Claus is Coming to Town." You know the line: "He's making a list, checking it twice. Gonna find out who's naughty and nice." I never wanted to be on that naughty list. (Warning: Cover your child's ears at this point.) Then I found out there's no such list.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

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If you made a list of places you might like to be for Christmas, I'm guessing the hospital emergency room wouldn't be on your list. No, mine either. But I was. Yeah, it happened the Christmas that our sons got a new football. It was this extraordinary 60-degree Christmas day. Of course, we had to go out and play with that new ball. I went deep for a pass, and I caught it on the end of my finger! The next thing I knew, I was spending a painful Christmas in the emergency room getting a broken finger repaired. Nice way to spend Christmas, huh?

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

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The Christmas tree has always been a big deal at our house. The boys go on our annual pilgrimage to pick it out. Then we have the annual decorating ceremony, and we're pretty good at it if I do say so myself. The lights, the beautiful decorations you accumulated over the years, the bright star on the top. Our Christmas tree is the center of our family life all during the Christmas season, and then comes January. Yeah, I hate to mention it now, but the decorations come off and the tree comes down. After which, I unceremoniously carry it to the curb for the garbage man to dispose of. The ugly secret is painfully obvious that day. Even though that tree has been glowing with decorations, it was dead all along!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

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It was the biggest night of the year in a little town called Cornwall. It was the night of the annual Christmas pageant. Since there are no nearby malls or cities to compete with, the pageant is pretty much packed out every year. It's an especially big deal for the children in town. They get to try out for the roles in the Christmas story, and everybody wants a part.

Monday, December 18, 2017

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Our family opens our gifts on Christmas Eve, and I've got to tell you, it's usually one amazing outpouring of love. There's not a member of our family who just runs out to some mall and says, "Oh, I've gotta get something for her or for him." No, there seems to be this almost scientific process where with each person they're buying for they say, "Now what do I know about this person? What do they really need? What do they really like?" I think we've even got a couple of sons who evaluate their gift-giving success on the basis of how touched the recipient is. Yeah, they don't mind a few tears actually; it's that touching. And there are always some neat, touching moments at our Christmas Eve.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

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Our sons worked for many years on an Indian reservation in the Southwest. And they would be one of the few places on that dark reservation where so few people have been reached for Christ who had any Christmas decorations up. But I was always impressed with that one village church where they had a lot of lights outlining all their church buildings, and there was a cross covered with lights on top of the church's steeple. It was pretty impressive. One Christmas I had a chance to visit there and I got to see the lights of the church and that cross. And, man, the cross really stands out against the darkness. And I met Rose. She's a Native woman who attends that church. Those lights are an important part of her story actually. She said, "I have struggled with alcohol for many years. And one night, during the Christmas season, I hit bottom. I was in the pit. I wandered outside and there it was – the cross all lit up in front of me. I came to where the cross was (she said), and with the help of the pastor's wife, I finally found hope that night."

Friday, December 8, 2017

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A friend of ours is an avid hunter. In fact, so much that he's been known to skip church occasionally during duck hunting season. He's well known in the church, so the pastor notices when he's not there. With a twinkle in his eye, our friend explained recently how he's prepared to handle pastoral questions like, "Where were you on Sunday?" He said he's actually named his duck blinds where he hides to hunt those birds. One he has named "The Word." The other is named "Prayer." So when the pastor asks where he was on Sunday, he simply answers, "I was in 'The Word,'" or, "I was in 'Prayer.'" That's messed up!

            

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Ron Hutchcraft Ministries
P.O. Box 400
Harrison, AR 72602-0400

(870) 741-3300
(877) 741-1200 (toll-free)
(870) 741-3400 (fax)

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