By: Dennis Reynolds, BFC National Elder
I woke up, rubbed my eyes, and excitedly hopped out of bed. It was Christmas morning, 1974. Was it here? Could the gift I had begged Santa for be sitting under our tree?
Still in my pajamas, I ran down the hall to our living room, and what I saw stopped me in my tracks! Sitting in front of the fully decorated silver Christmas tree was the toy every young boy in the early 1970s had to have. It was the Evel Knievel action figure and Stunt Cycle set I had been dreaming of for months! The Evel Knievel Scramble van was there as well! I turned around and ran to my parents’ room! “MOM, DAD!!” I screamed, “COME LOOK!”.
Since they were still sleeping, they did not seem as enthused as I was. Still, they climbed out of bed and after waking my brother, walked to the living room to watch us play with our new stuff.
Now for those of you who do not know, the Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle was an amazing piece of technology. It was equipped with a hand crank launcher that powered a wind-up engine capable of sending Evel over ramps and jumping him ten feet or more through the air. Since I was the biggest Evel Knievel fan on the planet, I was in Heaven!
For the rest of the day and several years to come, that Evel Knievel toy jumped my dog, the ditch in front of our house, and on more than one occasion, my little brother. When it rained, we set up the World Book Encyclopedia set in the living room and had Evel do death defying leaps every book! When he finally broke, I was close to 14yrs old and they were out of production, so he wasn’t replaced.
It will forever be my favorite childhood toy. So much so, when California Creations re-introduced the Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle in 2020, I bought two of them. It was during the heart of the COVID pandemic, and social distancing suddenly wasn’t so bad!
Yep, at 56 years old, I was cranking up an Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle and launching him over ramps in my garage! Once again, in my mind it was Christmas of 1974 all over again. It was the greatest Christmas toy this young boy ever received, but it was not my greatest Christmas gift.
Do you remember your greatest Christmas gift? Was it a Barbie Corvette? Was it a G.I. Joe with the Kung Fu Grip? Could it have been a shiny new bicycle? Whatever the case may be, the things that make Children smile on Christmas morning are wonderful, but the Greatest Christmas gift of all was given over 2000 years ago.
One night in Bethlehem, God stepped out of Heaven, and entered our world in the form of a baby boy named Jesus. His mom and earthly father had no place to stay so he was born in a stable, wrapped in rags, and placed in a feeding trough. That night, the angels announced his arrival, and people from all over the area came to see the Christ child for the first time.
Just like the joy a child feels when they receive that special toy, the joy we receive through Jesus Christ cannot be explained, it must be experienced. And, like any other Christmas gift, it must be accepted and received. If you have not already done so, Jesus is standing there today waiting for you to decide to follow Him. It will be a decision you won’t regret.
Luke 2:9-14 New Living Translation
Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”