Jim Daly: Merry Christmas everybody! I’m Jim Daly and on today’s Focus on the Family, John Fuller and I have decided to celebrate with you in a rather unique way. Here’s a hint: think duck hunting and delicious Cajun recipes. Is your mouth watering yet?
John Fuller: Mmm, I am ready for that, Jim!
Jim: (laughter) I bet you are! We’re gonna explore the joys of family, faith and maybe a little redneck humor as we reflect on what Christmas day is all about.
John: And those are some great hints, Jim, I’ll add a few more. (laughter) Think long beards and camoflage and the backwoods of Louisiana. And we actually recorded our program today for you at the home and headquarters of some world famous guests! (laughter) Alright, anybody have any guesses?
Jim: Are we buildin’ this up or what?
John: I think it’s pretty obvious.
Jim: Well if you haven’t figured it out already, we had the privilege of sitting down with Phil and Kay Robertson, the founders of the Duck Dynasty clan, and it was so much fun, just to be in their home! It was a hoot! And I love the Robertson family– we’ve had several of them join us on previous broadcasts and they are such a real, down to earth family. It’s amazing with all the fame that they still keep their feet on the ground the way they do. To Phil and Kay’s credit, their sons and wives, and grandchildren now, are bold witnesses for Christ and they’re not afraid to wear their faith on their sleeve for everyone to see and hear– and sometimes to complain about.
John: Yeah, they really are very courageous for Christ and such winsome folks– we had a great time with Phil and Kay, as you said Jim, in their home. They just opened the doors and let us come in and we had some really funny personal stories and some deep, reflective thoughts that capture, as you said, the spirit of family and faith and, of course, Christmas. And the Robertsons have written a terrific book calledExploring the Joy of Christmas: Stories, Recipes, Carols and More.
Jim: So let’s sit back, grab a hot cup of cocoa, maybe a Christmas cookie and listen to this wonderful program we’ve got for you today on Focus on the Family.
Jim: When I watchDuck Dynasty, which I think I’ve seen just about every episode with my boys – cooking’s a big part of your family, isn’t it? Miss Kay, you seem to be able to cook just about anything.Did you know how to do this when you got married, or did you have to…
Kay Robertson: Oh, I wanted to tell you.
Jim: …Acquire the ability?
Kay: When I was, uh – memories – maybe 4 years old, I remember I stayed with my grandmother about half my life because my parents ran a store. We had a general store that we had in our family for, like, 75 years, you know?
Kay: And they worked all the time, so I was with my grandmother over half my life, you know, as I was growin’ up.
Kay:As I was growin’ up. And from the time I can remember – which is maybe 4 or 5 years old – I was in that kitchen with her. I was looking at recipe books. And I remember having flour from one end of me to the other. (Laughter) And I – I remember just rollin’ the dough – rollin’ the dough – just doing all those things. And that’s where I got my passion and love for cookin’.
Jim: That sounds like fun, though – rolling in that dough and powder…
Kay: And I’ve been rollin’ dough ever since, right, Phil?
Phil Robertson: That’s a fact.
Jim: Now, I got to ask you, really. I mean, cooking a squirrel. Yeah, that’s right, everybody. Some people just went, what? I mean, cookin’ a squirrel!
Phil: One of the finest eating things on the earth (Laughter) is squirrels.
John: What were you going to ask about cooking squirrels, Jim? I’m curious!
Jim: OK. Well, I was just – you know, did you – where’d you learn how to do that? Do you fry it?
Kay: My daddy – look, when I was a little girl, I held the legs – and Phil knows what I’m talkin’ about – for him to clean the squirrel. When I was a little girl – little girl, and I did all that stuff with him – I learned how to pick birds and everything. Which makes me kinda see why I chose who I chose because I already liked that stuff and did that stuff. And I like the men that did that stuff. You see what I mean?
Jim: Oh, absolutely.
Phil: You take squirrels, and you clean them and cut the backs and the legs, and get them all cut up.
Kay: He cuts ‘em up for me now.
Phil: She fries them. And then, you pour the grease off, and you add a can of French onion soup.
Kay: Phil, it’s several cans. (Laughter).
Phil: Several cans – however much you want.
Kay: We have to get the pot.
Phil: French onion soup and cream of celery – and you put that in there and cut that with water or chicken broth. You put that after you fry the squirrels, you put the soup in there. Add the water till you get the consistency right. Put it in the oven for about…
Kay: In the iron skillet.
Phil: Big iron skillet with a lid. You fried ‘em, you have the soup in there, you have a gravy. You put them in there. You can throw four, five, six cloves of garlic in there. And you put that in the oven. You cook that hour and a half – two hours.
Kay: Over two.
Phil: Listen, if you tasted that – a couple of hours – you put that over rice, it is one of the finest eating plates on this planet.
Kay: It really is.
Jim: OK, but now I’m thinking, today’s Christmas Day.
John: New Year’s is coming though.
John: New Year’s is coming.
Jim: You see this big, like, unveil of what you think’s gonna be a turkey, ends up being a squirrel. That’s not gonna feed enough people.
Kay: Well, and we don’t eat that – we don’t eat that on Christmas Day. (Laughter)…
John: Well I wonder if you think he’ll try some squirrel to celebrate the season. Well… I’ve had squirrel but I’m not gonna have it this time. You know, the Robertsons really do take their Christian faith pretty seriously and that doesn’t mean they don’t have fun as well, of course. Here’s a story that we heard about a special pageant at their church.
Jim: Hey, I want to ask you now, in your book, um,Exploring The Joy Of Christmas, Phil, you had this thing where you dressed up like John the Baptist, and it kind of scared the weheegee beebees out of your kids. What happened?
Kay: Well, when he was in that play, and he came in the back of the church. And what he did was, he hollered. He didn’t even have a microphone, and he – but. (Imitating) Repent, ye! (Laughter) And, you know, he had the staff and all of that, like, stuff. All the babies climbed under the pews.
Jim: Was this Christmas – during Christmas?
Jim: And he starts to (imitating) repent? (Laughter)
Phil: I was just duplicating…
Kay: We did that.
Phil: So John the Baptist raised his voice and, you know, he was hollering, you know, repent. You know, God can raise these stones up, you know? And so I just went through what John the Baptist was saying. And I will have to admit it scared – it scared people.
Kay: It was the whole story about…
Jim: Oh, yeah.
Phil: But he was a scary figure at that point.
Jim: Actually, for kids…
Phil: Think about it. The guy just comes walking out of the wilderness and looking rougher than I do right now.
Kay: And he had on, like, a bearskin.
Phil: I mean, camos, hair, robbin’ beehives, running down grasshoppers. You’re like, you know, you say, boy – that dude. So he comes up there.And he was the guy appointed by God to pave the way for the savior of the world. Just look how God works.
Jim: Think of that.
Phil: Yeah. So I feel better about the way I look now because I think about John the Baptist.
John: Trying to identify with him.
Jim: I mean, you kinda – you’re a bit of a John the Baptist.
Kay: That’s why they’ve introduced him, many speeches…
Jim: Is that right?
Kay: …As the John the Baptist look-alike. (Laughter).
Phil: We take him to this river right down here, just like John did, so there you go.
Jim: That is cool.
John: This is Focus on the Family and today we’re featuring Christmas stories from Phil and Kay Robertson, the founding members of the Duck Dynasty clan. And every season is unique, don’t you think, especially when the unexpected happens. And that was true for the Robertson family. “Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring…” Except for Grandpa Phil who thought he smelled something peculiar…
Phil: It was cold – at wintertime. So I looked in my fireplace, and I looked around. I said, hmm. I said, well, this seems to be all right. So I go back in there, and crawl back into bed. Well, about 30 minutes later, I said, wait just a minute. I said, I’m still smelling that wood – I said that’s not fireplace smoke. It’s a little different kind of smell to it. (Laughter) So I get up and I walk back in there with a flashlight, and I have my flashlight, and I’m looking at the front of that fireplace. It’s dark. And there’s a seam where the fireplace came out – the concrete part, where it hit the wooden floor. And I looked right there, and I saw a little wisp of smoke.
And I said, hmm. (Laughter) So I go over here, and I get a bottle of these – this spring water, and I just poured some out in a container. I walked over there and I poured that water in that seam. I just started right there where my floor hit the concrete in the fireplace. I poured some water in there, and it went, sssssss. Just boiled like that.
Jim: Oh, man! (Laughter)
Phil: And I’m looking down, and I said, that’s not right. I said, all my grandkids were asleep in here.
Kay: Alan – Alan’s family spent the night.
Phil: All the grandkids were in there. So I looked around in the living room here and I thought, this seems to be a lot of smoke in here. (Laughter) So I get outside, I get on my hands and knees, and I crawl up under the house where I can look up under where the fireplace is.
Phil: So I got up under the house. I had my flashlight, so I turned it off. And I’m just looking back up toward my fireplace. And I saw a red glow coming down in the house up under there.Well, I also noticed that there was smoke about hanging from the bottom of my floor. I got that flashlight, and it was just a layer of smoke like a cloud bank right up there on those joists. And I thought, this thing’s on fire back in there.
Jim: (Laughter) That’s crazy.
Phil: So I get up, you know, and I get a hold of old Burley – my neighbor. I say bring a chainsaw and a sledge hammer and get over here as fast as you can. He said, a what?
Jim: What time is this?
Phil: 3:30 – 3:30 in the morning.
Jim: OK, that’s a good neighbor.
Phil: I said bring a sledge hammer and a chainsaw. So he comes running over here.
Kay: And Alan’s up. We got all everybody up then.
Phil: And I – I ascertain that the fire has gotten to our floor, and it’s working its way this way and it’s just smolderin’ – ready to go. And I thought – so I took that sledge hammer, he took the chainsaw, started cutting up under that. We were gonna try to do that. I said, we can’t do it. I said, I’ve got to get in there on the fireplace. I took a sledge hammer. Now everybody’s up.
Kay: Now, we’ve already called the fire department.
Phil: Get all the kids up. Call the fire department.
Kay: You see how far out we are.
John: It takes a while to get here.
Phil: I’m standing there with a sledgehammer like this. And I said, Miss Kay, that new fireplace – we’re fixin’ to do away with it right here. So I had two guys with five gallons of water each. And I just came from here, and I came down on that concrete, and I just started breaking it. Well, when I started breaking it, we could see them coals – that floor itself. And they started pouring the water on as I was beatin’ it. So I just beat me and gallons down a big hole, broke all the – I mean, I tore the floor up. (Laughter) And I’m just moving back and they’re keep pouring the water, smoke…
Kay: You know what the grandkids are doin’? They’re over there peeking at their Christmas presents as fast as they can do. (LAUGHTER)
Phil: Get your Christmas presents before they burn.
Jim: They have the priorities right.
Jim: They’re going, let’s save the Christmas presents.
Phil: The fire department pulls up, they walk in, and they look back there after I poured all the water and broken all the concrete coming out – and boards and all that; it was just a pile of charred stuff. And we wet it all down. And the guy looks at it – the fire guy – and he said, who did that? And I said, that’d be me. He said, that’s exactly what you had to do to put that fire out.
John: It’s a special Christmas edition of Focus on the Family with Jim Daly. I’m John Fuller and today we’re presenting some fun personal stories from Phil and Kay Robertson, known to their Duck Dynasty family as Pawpaw Phil and Miss Kay. And you can find more of what we shared inExploring the Joy of Christmas. We’ve got details about that at focusonthefamily.com/radio.
Jim: John, we’ve been hearing some wild stuff so far like how to cook a squirrel, a scary John the Baptist and a Christmas fire that almost burned the house down! That was funny, when he told that story! If you missed any of that, contact us to get the CD or download of the broadcast or get the app on your phone so you can listen that way. What I remember most about our visit with the Robertsons was their passion for people. Phil and Kay love their family, of course– we all do! But they also have a great heart for their community and especially for people who are struggling at this time of year.
Kay: I talk to women myself, you know, that have a hard time with everything like that and the different homes they go – they go to so many different – because of so many different, you know, things that have happened in the family and all that. And, you know, that’s just circumstances of – of times and things that’s happened to ‘em, you know? But the thing about it is I try to tell ‘em…look, your kids are lookin’ at you. So you have gotta find joy in even the hardest of circumstances. And, um, you know, I love it because, um – because even we can find ways always to help people. You know, we did a thing last year where some of my girls I work with, we just – it had the coldest night we ever had during the Christmas season. And, you know, we took out blankets to people, you know, just gave blankets to ‘em and things like that – and gloves and hats and stuff like that. We just – what we did was to have those girls do that and give all of those things right there at the joy time of year. But there’s so many people that don’t even have simple things.
Jim: That’s true.
Kay: And maybe some of it is because they’ve caused trouble to, you know, with the lifestyle they lived and they don’t have it. But those children – they still deserve havin’, you know, something. Or even somebody just to talk to ‘em and care about ‘em and all that. And I love that part of what we do at that time of year.
Jim: Yeah, it’s beautiful. I mean, that is the Christmas spirit, isn’t it?
Kay: Oh, it’s really is.
Jim: To give and to be joyful.
Kay: We came to some homes – and it was freezing cold – and the kids were outside barefooted. And I was like, where’s your mama? And they’ll say, well, she’s asleep and I can’t get her to wake up. And I told them, I said, well, I’ve brought you – we brought you – all my girls would give ‘em out the blankets and, you know, mittens and things.
Kay: And I said, I wish I’d have brought some shoes.
Jim: (Laughter) Yeah.
Kay: But here’s the deal, you’re gonna get sick. So I know you have shoes, and so I’ll be like your mom today and tell you, put your shoes and socks on. It’s cold, you know?
Jim: Yeah. Get in there.
Kay: Get in there. And, you know, there’s just circumstances like that. But we need to be out and about.
Kay: Not just about us.
John: Well, what a good reminder from Miss Kay Robertson about turning the focus off of ourselves this Christmas and finding ways to reach out and extend God’s love to others. And of course, the best way to celebrate Christmas every year is to keep that focus on Jesus Christ. Think about what he came to do and how he transformed the world and our lives forever. And Phil Robertson has more thoughts about that.
Phil: Look at the ramifications of John 1:1. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made. In him was life. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness is not understood.
You drop down to verse 14 and it says, the Word became flesh. So when God chose to enter the world via a human mother – dating all the way back to Genesis 3 when man failed – the seed of a woman will crush Satan. Five thousand four hundred years goes by and here’s God in flesh. We call it Christmas 2017. Our calendars documents it.
Every year before he got here, you call those the years before he got here. And all the years once he arrived via a human mother, you say AD – anno Domini – the year of our lord. We literally – and the world – look at how that one event – if you go to Vietnam, the Philippines, and if you said to them, what year is it? They would say 2017. Without hesitation, you say, he was able to bring the world together and count time by what he did right there.
Phil: Well, you just look at it. You say, the effect was far-reaching. Christ mass – worship mass, Christmas – Christmas, you’re like Christ worship. You just look at the impact that’s had for good on the earth. And just think about if that had never occurred, if that had never happened, and there were no Jesus, I don’t know what we would count time by. We would have our own little some kind of calendar based on the moon – what – no telling what. But you say all the calendars changed once God became flesh.
Jim: It’s an amazing thing.
Phil: It’s very amazing. I mean, the ramifications of that are still with us here today, which is pretty amazing. Therefore, when we all get together, it’s a remembrance almost to this – on the same par as the Lord’s supper – when we remember the blood of Jesus that removed our sin and the body that was given for us, it was nailed to the cross. It’s almost like that around this neck of the woods anyway.
John: This is Focus on the Family and today we’re featuring holiday memories and spiritual insights from Phil and Kay Robertson who wrote a wonderful seasonal book calledExploring the Joy of Christmas.
Jim: Let me ask you about contentment. I mean, this is Christmas time. Contentment is such an important aspect of the Christian life. You guys have come from – well, Phil, as your childhood, you know, being poor.
Jim: Miss Kay, you grew up in a – in a family that had a grocery store – you kinda had a lot comparatively.
Jim: And then – but even in that context, and you hit this big show, but you guys are still living pretty much the life you did before in many ways. How do you get that contentment? And you don’t…
Kay: Because you look for it, not in material things. That’s what you do. And that’s where we’re really messed up in our society these days…
Jim: How have you, practically, maintained that center of gravity to say, OK, we’re not going to be like everybody else that becomes famous, and we’re not gonna treat people rudely?
Kay: We came from a different time, and I don’t forget my roots, and he doesn’t forget his either.
Phil: I think if you – if you work with enough individuals, you begin to say, uh, a lot of humanity, they don’t have – rightfully so – that rarest of commodities, which is peace of mind.
You say peace of mind? In America especially, you say whatever happened to peace of mind? Because if you’re not content with what you have, not content despite the circumstances, if you’re angry and you don’t know why, if your problem is you don’t know what your problem is, That’s your problem. You say you’re never gonna get peace of mind.
Only God provides that. Only God. You know, you read these texts – the peace that surpasses all understanding, and like, you can be dirt-poor, but you’re just – a smile on your face. It doesn’t bother you.
You know, I…that’s a hard thing to come by in America. They scramble and they think somehow if they get rich or famous they will have achieved something. What they fail to understand is all the money any of us ever acquire, you say, can it remove your sin – all that money? You’re like, unfortunately, no. You said, well, all the fame one ever gets, uh, maybe that will help him with the grave. No, all the fame you ever get, it can’t raise you from the dead.(Laughter) So when you look at it, you say, well, if money and fame can’t remove your sin or raise you from the dead, I’d better major in my way off planet Earth alive here – my sin’s removed and the resurrection of the dead. You’re like, you better major and camp out right there because I know of no other possibility to get us off planet earth.
Jim: I love that simplicity, Phil. I mean, we…
Phil: Look, if you – if someone has a better story, I’m like, well, I’m all ears. What is it?
Phil: So far, I’ve not heard a person stand up and say, I’ve got a better story that deals with the sins of the world and the resurrection of the dead. I say, well, what is it? Nobody has one.
John: Phil and Kay Robertson experienced a dramatic conversion to Christ years ago and it’s given them a passion for introducing others to God’s love, especially during this Christmas season.
Phil: So the centerpiece of one’s thinking should be – especially godly people – look, you’re a child at the resurrection for crying out loud. Calm down. Enjoy it. I mean, tell others about it. I mean…
Jim: That’s great.
Phil: …So we’ve been given everything, so…
Jim: That is so good. And on Christmas Day, this is what we need to know.
Phil: You betcha.
Kay: And – and I want to tell you something. For somebody that doesn’t know Christ, you know, they’re just on a like, a spinning wheel. They’re not going anywhere. And they keep wondering what’s wrong.And it’s never too late. It’s never too late. We, uh – our preacher up there – his father came to Christ – and wasn’t he, like, uh, 70 or something like that? Seventy years old he came to Christ. He went to church all his life, but guess what? He had never gave his life to Christ.
Jim: That’s amazing.
Phil: A guy pulled up here a few months ago. He was in a wheelchair. His health care professional was with him. And -I walked around after he was in the car I told him – said, so someone told me you want me to baptize you in the river? And he said, I came down here, Mr. Robertson, because I knew you would. I said, let me – and he said, but they told me, you know, they couldn’t do it because I was in the wheelchair. I said, let me tell somethin’, dude. We’re going to get on both sides of that wheelchair. We’re going to baptize you and the wheelchair. (LAUGHTER) And we will bring you up out – he said, that’s why I came. The man was about 89 years old.
Jim: My goodness.
Phil: But listen, we dropped back down to the river, and I had a couple of my brothers roll him down the boat dock down there, you know. We got him out there and got him all situated. And I said, Jesus said go make disciples and baptize ‘em. We’re gonna do it. And so I looked down, he went and the wheelchair would come up with him. He thanked me. I saw him the next Sunday morning though – old man. But you know, I said, you know what? That’s what he wants. That’s what we’re gonna do.
Jim: Right. It’s never too late, to Miss Kay’s point. This has been terrific, uh. Phil Robertson, Kay Robertson, thank you so much for being with us.
Kay: I could talk to you all the time.
Jim: (Laughter) I love that.
John: Thank you for joining us for this Christmas edition of Focus on the Family with our special guests Phil and Kay Robertson. And we hope you enjoyed their stories as much as Jim and I did!
Jim: This has been wonderful, John! And what a great place to end, hearing about the spiritual birth of a brand-new Christian. Because as we’ve heard several times today, Christmas is centered on our relationship with Jesus Christ. It’s not about the presents! And it’s great to celebrate His birth and enjoy all of the festivities that go with the holiday season. But we need to move beyond the baby in a manger and connect with our living, loving Savior who died and rose again so that we can be forgiven and embrace the gift of eternal life, being with God forever! That’s why we celebrate and that’s why Focus on the Family is here to bring God’s good news message to you and your family.
The Robertsons have done a wonderful job of pointing us to what’s most important at this time of year. And I so appreciate their Christian witness and their emphasis on strong family values. We really need those in our culture today more than ever. And if you’ve been blessed by what we’ve shared, I’d like to give you a free copy of the Robertsons’ bookExploring the Joy of Christmaswhen you send us a financial gift of any amount to help us do the ministry. This is a fun and meaningful way to celebrate the season and I’m sure you can think of a friend or family member who would benefit from the book.
John: Well, we hope that you’ll make a generous donation at focusonthefamily.com/radio or write our number down and give us a call later this week— that’s 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. And when you’re at the website, you’re gonna find a free download of a conversation that Jim Daly and I had with Sadie Robertson. She’s Phil and Kay’s granddaughter and what a vibrant young woman she is, so bold in sharing Christ with a new generation.
Now we’re also going to post a link to our Christmas stories podcast which has more heartwarming and fun holiday reflections, some similar to what we’ve heard today, although I don’t remember any stories about eating squirrel… anyway, check that out at focusonthefamily.com/radio.
Well on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team here, thanks for listening to Focus on the Family. I’m John Fuller, hoping that the rest of your Christmas day is rich in every way and that you’ll join us tomorrow as we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ.