WASHINGTON - Former Baptist pastor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said his latest book is neither "churchy" nor political, but simply about relationships as told through Christmas memories.
Huckabee's seventh book, A Simple Christmas: Twelve Stories that Celebrate the True Holiday Spirit, was released this month and contain 12 chapters – each of which recall one of Huckabee's Christmas memories and the life lesson the experience taught, such as patience, sacrifice, hope, and faith.
Despite having been written by an ordained pastor and about Christmas, the book is rather sparse on Christian references. The introduction explains why Christmas is significant to Christians and many of the chapters end with some reference to Christian teachings. The main focus, however, is on Huckabee's childhood and adult memories of Christmas.
"It (the book) wasn't intended to be a theological treatise at all," Huckabee says. "I didn't want this to be a churchy kind of book. I wanted it to be an entertaining read. I hope the takeaway will be that people realize what matters in our lives are relationships, and the moments in our lives that we think may be the worst may in fact be the most shaping."
Among the most memorable chapters is the one on sacrifice, in which Huckabee recalls one Christmas in 1966, when he had given his working-class parents an ultimatum to buy him an electric guitar or nothing at all for the holiday. He got a guitar and the accompanying amplifier that year, but he later learned the sacrifice his parents had to make in order to give him that gift.
The $99 guitar-amplifier set took his parents one year to pay off with installments.
"The best Christmas gifts we get are the ones that represent a sacrifice on the part of the giver," Huckabee writes in the book. "That's because nothing so reflects what Christmas is all about as does sacrifice.
"God, who owed us nothing, gave us everything," he wrote. "He gave up more than His comfort and His crown – He gave His life…"
Huckabee credits his parents' sacrifice for his current success. At a media event Wednesday, the former governor of Arkansas said it was through the guitar that he was able to overcome his shyness and perform and speak in front of crowds.
"I certainly wouldn't be sitting here at this table and do the things that I do day after day if it wasn't for the sacrifice that they made to get the guitar," Huckabee said.
Aside from his run for the presidency in last year's election season and his nearly nine years serving as governor, Huckabee is an ordained Southern Baptist minister, hosts a weekend show on Fox News, and serves as a political commentator on ABC Radio.
At the opening of the book tour event, Huckabee said he does not know if he will run again for president in 2012 though at least two prominent surveys have shown him to be the top Republican choice so far.
Many pundits have questioned if his intense 64-city book tour is a political strategy to lay the tracks for a 2012 presidential bid.
Huckabee, however, is sticking to telling the media that he is simply enjoying the radio show and the Fox television show he hosts. He says he has not had much time to think about running again.