By Ron Hutchcraft

It was about 11 o'clock at night when I suddenly got a cryptic text from my son - "Please turn off your porch lights." Excuse me?

Next weird thing - there are a dozen people in my front yard, all looking up at the sky. I can't really see them. Oh, but I can hear them in the dark.

Then I get it. They've come where it's further from any light to see the show in the sky. The northern lights. The aurora borealis. That spectacular display of colored lights, seldom seen in the lower 48. Caused this time by an unusually large storm on the sun.

It's the Super Bowl of the Skies! No ticket required.

In a world of people addicted to screens, countless millions of us are stopping everything to see a spectacle in the skies. When a celestial switch is flipped and the lights go out.

The solar eclipse of 2024.

It started with an almost unthinkable radio transmission to an emergency number.

"The entire Key Bridge has fallen into the harbor."

Then the video - like something from a sci-fi movie. One minute the heavily traveled Outer Harbor bridge stood there majestically. The next minute it was gone, in pieces in the river. And then the deep sadness of knowing the workers on the bridge had gone with it.

It was like a dream come true. It was right after Christmas. And I was in Manger Square in Bethlehem! Near the entrance to the Church of the Nativity, built over the cave believed to be the birthplace of the Son of God.

It felt like the whole town was a celebration. Festive lights lining the streets. Caroling choirs. A parade. And a dazzling Christmas tree on the square.

Not this Christmas. The birthplace of Christmas will be dark and deserted this Christmas.

By Brad Hutchcraft

There are toys, and then there are trains. Toys are fun, but trains bring out something else. Maybe it's the feeling of nostalgia, or maybe it's the delusional thinking that I could just step on a locomotive and successfully operate it. Either way, one of my favorite moments each Christmas is when we pull out the Lionel O-Gauge and set it up under the tree.

I guess some might call me a news junkie. Not so much anymore. There's just so much junk in the news.

Breaking news is so often heartbreaking news. Unspeakable cruelty. Mutual destruction politics. Mass shootings. A ticking time bomb world.

And then there's Christmas.

Six weeks post surgery! I can drive... lift my arm... have more mobility... and can hug with two arms!

Incredibly thankful I finally had courage and time to face getting the help I needed for my shoulder. I kicked it down the road for years.

Makes me think of how we often put off dealing with the hard things in life - mentally, emotionally, healing, dealing with past trauma, walking through grief...

Words fail. Even words like "apocalyptic"... "war zone"... "total devastation."

The racing flames in the iconic Lahaina community of Maui simply consumed everything in its path - often leaving only ash where minutes before a building had stood. In a community where people have lived for a thousand years.

Unbelievable. It's another graduation season! And, wow, has the world changed since I was the one "commencing."

But the commencement ceremony itself? Not so much. Same sweat-a-lot robes. Same funny, flat hats with that flapping tassel. And the same lofty "we will change the world...follow your dream" speeches. Inspired by the view from the top of Mount High School.

Hallie, Evelyn and William spent the first part of the morning in their Christian school chapel. They were learning "Amazing Grace" to sing next week for Grandparents' Day.

An hour later they were with the One whose grace they had been singing about.

As the nation knows now, they were three of the six victims in a mass shooting tragedy at Covenant School in Nashville.



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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