Thursday, December 23, 2004

It may well be the favorite song of the Christmas season - a lullaby written to the Christ Child many years ago in a little mountain village in Austria. A village pastor was desperate for some music for his Christmas Eve service since the church organ wasn't working, thanks to a mouse eating through parts of the organ! His composition didn't stay in that village. It spread from the Alps around the world, and you can't have a Christmas season without hearing it - probably multiple times. The signature song of celebrating Christmas - "Silent Night." Every verse ends with those beautiful calming words, "Sleep in heavenly peace." Nice words. Not always the way it is.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

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.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

The Christmas season isn't complete for my friend Brian if he doesn't sing in that wonderful combined choir presentation of one of the most glorious musical compositions of all time - Handel's "Messiah" - with its unforgettable "Hallelujah Chorus." For many, it's a special part of their Christmas season. When George Friedrich Handel wrote that "Hallelujah Chorus," it was hardly a hallelujah time in his life. He was broke, indigent, and almost despondent. Then an acquaintance contacted him about writing an oratorio for a benefit concert to raise money to help some people get out of debtors' prison. In those days, if you couldn't pay your debts, you got thrown into prison. Maybe you're especially glad they don't still do that today! Well, in less than a month, Handel composed that masterpiece that would end up inspiring millions for centuries to come. Its first performance was life changing for him and for many people. Because of that night of "Hallelujah Chorus" for the "Messiah," 142 prisoners went free!

Monday, December 20, 2004

Over the years, our family has had the chance to see Christmas from many different perspectives - Christmas in Manhattan, Christmas in Chicago's Loop, a mountain Christmas, a colonial Christmas, a white Christmas, a warm Christmas, and a one horse open sleigh Christmas. But it's a man named Nate Saint who, better than anyone else I know, may have captured Christmas from heaven's perspective. He was one of five American missionaries, called by God to go to the jungles of Ecuador to introduce the Gospel to one of the "lostest" people on earth, the primitive Auca (Waorani) Indians. Once they found the Aucas in the dense jungles, it was Nate who, as a seasoned pilot, landed them on a narrow beach by the Curaray River. I've stood on that beach where Nate Saint, Jim Elliott, and the others died at the hands of the Aucas. But today the men who murdered them are leaders of the Auca Church, and many, including me, were inspired by their example to serve Christ. On the eve of his last Christmas on earth, Nate Saint wrote his perspective on Christmas, and I can't get it out of my mind. I hope you won't either.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

In some ways I'm glad the three little Hutchcrafts aren't little anymore. When they were, the day before Christmas always meant assembling some "easy-to-assemble" toys. Yeah! And the day after? That usually meant fixing what was not easy-to-assemble in the first place. It seems the day after Christmas there was always something that was broken. Maybe there's some fixing that needs to happen in your life before Christmas.

Thursday, December 9, 2004

You know something's up when a friend offers you a piece of candy and then stands there to watch you eat it. It happened in our office when my administrative assistant offered me a piece of sour apple candy with the interesting name "Warheads." That should have been my second clue, besides her standing there and watching me. The third clue should have been the drawing on the wrapper. It's this cartoon guy with his head sort of blowing up. Well, being the good sport that I am, I went for it. The first minute was awful! Bitter doesn't describe the taste. It was just bad bitter! It made my mouth pucker and it even made my eyes water! And then, as suddenly as that sharp bitter taste had invaded my mouth, the taste changed to a really enjoyable, sweet fruit taste. Which, I am happy to report, lasted considerably longer than the bad taste.

Monday, December 6, 2004

There's not much amusing about an automobile accident, but my friend Jean's accident - it had a little smile at the end of it at least. She got hit in the right rear door of her car, and her daughter's head actually broke the glass in the passenger side window. Jean's glasses went flying, and thank the Lord there was no serious injury. The police looked at the car, and they said, "Well, it's OK to drive." They knew that. She knew that, but apparently the computerized monitor in the dashboard didn't know that because all the way home this computer voice kept saying, "Right door is open. Fuel level is low." Actually, the right door was damaged, but no, it wasn't open. And the voice insisted, "Fuel level is low." She had just filled the car with gas! The gauge was on "F" for "Full." Poor Jean! She took a hit and then she started getting all kinds of wrong messages.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

My plane had just landed in a Midwestern city during a record breaking cold spell, and the pilot welcomed us to the city with a temperature reading that made you want to divert the flight to Florida. At least I had checked the Weather Channel and I was able to anticipate that I was about to enter the ice age, so I had the appropriate coat, scarf, gloves and layers. As I was waiting for my suitcase in the baggage claim area, I heard someone yell, "Grab those pineapples." Excuse me? Sure enough, there were two couples just returning from Hawaii with beautiful live flowers around their necks, and they were wearing short sleeve shirts and carrying their box of fresh pineapples. When I hit the wind outside, I was cold but I was prepared. I can't imagine what happened to the Luau bunch! When they woke up that morning, they probably just said, "Well, I'll just dress for where I am." They were totally unprepared for where they were going!

Friday, October 15, 2004

My wife and I have always enjoyed the helicopter of the animal kingdom. Yep, the hummingbird. On our vacation we hung out a hummingbird feeder and we filled it with this sweet red liquid that they love and we sat down on the porch and we sort of swung back and forth, and settled back to watch those cute little guys come to drink. They're not as cute as we thought. No sooner would one land on the feeder and begin to drink, than another hummingbird would swoop down and knock him off. Then another bird would swoop down and knock that bird off. Eventually, we had as many as five hummingbirds at a time hovering and darting around that feeder fighting with each other, dive-bombing each other. When one managed to finally win a spot on the feeder, he couldn't even enjoy what was there; he was so busy looking around for his next attacker. As the provider of all these goodies, I was frustrated. I was irritated. These dumb birds were so busy fighting over it, they couldn't enjoy it.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

It's always a good idea to lock your luggage when you're flying commercially. It's especially a good idea if you're going out of the country. It's an even better idea if you know where the keys for your suitcase locks are before you lock them! I was packing in a rush for my flight to Mexico, and I had my padlocks ready to go. I couldn't find the keys, however. With only minutes left before I had to leave, we launched this all-out desperate search. We checked drawers we thought we'd seen them in - no keys. We looked in creative places - no keys. I was resigned to leaving with unlocked suitcases - when I zipped my garment bag shut and I found the keys. Someone had been wise enough to attach them to the zipper that we use the lock on - right on the suitcase. What a concept! What I had been looking for everywhere had been right in front of me all along.



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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