For many of us, Christmas Eve involves seeing family, attending church, wrapping presents, and finally heading to bed. But for Don Hawkins (ThM, 1974), Danny Webster (1986), veteran radio professional Jim Glogowski, and others, Christmas Eve involved sharing hope.
Starting in 2020, this team worked to produce Christmas Hope—a six-hour radio program featuring Christmas music, thematic devotionals, and on-air interviews. Unlike other programs, which ran during prime hours, Christmas Hope ran overnight from Christmas eve into Christmas morning—all to extend the hope of the gospel to the stressed and hurting.
The vision for this ministry bloomed when Jim Glogowski first shared his idea with Don in August 2020.
So many people were affected by COVID—they had lost jobs or loved ones and were facing perhaps the most difficult Christmas ever. We needed to do something about it, and God had given us the tool of radio—so, we used it.
To Don, the task seemed impossible.
But Christmas was a reminder to impossible beginnings.
Christmas Hope 2020 aired from 11 p.m. December 24 until 5 a.m. December 25. Not only did Christian stations pick up the program, but secular stations did as well—including news-talk powerhouse WABC AM in New York City, with a nighttime signal covering all or part of 38 states. The owner of one Christian radio network was so enthusiastic that he immediately replayed the entire six hours during Christmas Day. TheWorshipChannel.org, an internet radio station managed by Don, carried the broadcast live to listeners in 192 countries.
Those who phoned in could choose if they wanted to talk with Don on-air or connect with a team of Christian life coaches and counselors. Coaches listened, offered encouragement, and shared the gospel, while trained counselors assisted with mental health, including some who were suicidal or depressed.
Although difficult, the on-air team had the opportunity to reach thousands.
I could not have imagined providing thoroughly Christian, biblically-based programming on secular radio for six solid hours, or sharing the gospel on the air with a cab driver who was sitting in front of Madison Square Garden in New York City at 5:45 AM on Christmas Day!
In 2021, the Christmas Hope team added a co-host: June Hunt of Hope in the Night radio. They also featured several of her recorded Christmas songs. DTS President Dr. Mark Yarborough recorded a number of features based on his book Tidings of Comfort and Joy. Thanks to a small team of supporters, fifteen additional major stations were added from the Salem Radio Network, including Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Orlando, Atlanta, Dallas Fort Worth, Philadelphia, and Minneapolis. During the broadcast, a man listening in Chicago prayed to receive Christ on the air.
Plans are already underway for Christmas Hope 2022, and according to Don Hawkins, they include an expanded role for Dr. Yarborough—much of it prerecorded prior to the live event.
In 2021, Christmas Hope reached further into the depths of this dark world. In 2022, they aim to reach even more. If alumni are looking to partner with Christmas Hope 2022, please reach out to Jim at (713) 385-5470.
Our team of Christian coaches and counselors gives us a unique opportunity for one-to-one ministry to hurting people, especially people who need the gospel.
I’ve been doing live call-in radio since 1985. I believe there is a certain chemistry which leads to a responsiveness on the part of listeners, which I have seen over the years. I would especially like to invite our Dallas seminary family to pray for our health and strength for this rigorous opportunity, for God’s provision so we can secure additional stations, and for the words and music to provide powerful and effective ministry during Christmas Hope 2022.
So, everyone has been wondering: is it worthwhile to stay up all night on Christmas Eve—when radio can be prerecorded?
Their answer is a resounding “yes.”