A Simple Christmas
by Mike Huckabee
I wrote A Simple Christmas during a sweltering summer in Little Rock—a strange time to be thinking back on my Christmas memories!
I can picture you reading these words in November or December, rushing around, frantically trying to find the perfect gifts for your loved ones, with a million things on your to-do list. In the midst of all that chaos, your deepest wish might be to just get Christmas over with already. Peace on earth? Joy to the world? Forget it!
But before you get too cynical, please take a deep breath and a moment to reflect. Christmas doesn’t have to be quite so frazzled and frustrating. It really is possible to make it simple again—to recapture the true spirit of the birth of Jesus Christ and the hope and love He gives to all of us.
There’s something about being home with family and friends that gives us grounding, a sense of place and perspective that provides stability in what might otherwise be a chaotic and turbulent world. This is especially true at Christmas, which is the one time of year when we confront who we are—I mean who we really are.
By observing the traditions of the season, we are able to look back at where we came from and realize just how far we’ve come. We spend time with our family and remember that they are people connected to us not just through our DNA but also by memories and experiences that shaped our lives from their earliest moments. Even though the annual trek home is more painful than pleasant for some people, there is still some magnetic force that compels us to fight crowds, traffic, delays, and inconveniences just to make it home for Christmas.
Some times in our lives go exactly according to plan. But when God has a bigger purpose than we can possibly imagine, none of our efforts—no matter how well intentioned or practical—will change the course He has set for us. We might be able to get Delta Air Lines to change our flight, but only God can control the actual journey. And no matter how strange or irrational it might seem to us, there is a purpose to the path.
In this book I have aimed to capture what Christmas means to me—family, friendship, faith—through twelve true stories from my own life. Not all of these stories are joyful, but each taught me important lessons about what truly matters, during the holiday season and year-round.
For instance, I learned about patience when I was a boy who didn’t have any. My sister and I used to sneak open our gifts days or weeks in advance, play with them, then rewrap them before our parents could notice. The plan worked great for a few years, until one Christmas morning when I unwrapped a brand-new football…that was already covered in mud! The jig was up. (By the way, that football story is also the basis for my new picture book for kids, Can’t Wait Till Christmas.)
Even though presents are great, the greatest gift of all is the one God gave us that very first Christmas. He gave us the gift of life and of His love. Luckily, that’s not something we have to wait for anymore!
I hope you find a little humor and comfort in these stories. And I wish you a truly blessed and simple Christmas of your own.