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Life on the family farm under an open heaven: Little Red

Tom Heck for Progressive Dairy Published on 11 December 2021

Christmas is the most wonderful season of the year. After we celebrate Thanksgiving and give the Lord thanks for His many blessings and provisions over the past year, we start to prepare to celebrate Jesus’ birthday.

Of course, one of the things we do is cut a Christmas tree and decorate it. We all enjoy this very much. Another thing we do is Christmas shopping where we buy Christmas presents for each other.



One year in the past stands out in particular. Our son, Joshua, had outgrown his small, hand-me-down bicycle. We had decided to buy him a brand-new mid-size bike. We went to a store and found a super-sharp red bike we knew would delight our son. At the checkout, an older lady in line right behind us begged us to let her have the bike for her grandson, but we said, “No.”

We got the bike home and hid it in the corner of the basement, keeping it a secret from Joshua. Now, Joshua always played like his bike was a tractor, so I decided to customize it. On Christmas Eve, after we put the kids to bed, I went down in the basement. With some white paint, I painted some tractor numbers and decals on it. I thought I did a pretty good job – so, with that, I went to bed.

Christmas morning came, and we milked and fed all the cattle. Chores went fast with all the excitement in the air. Then we sat down to a wonderful Christmas dinner Joanne had lovingly prepared. As we ate and talked, we again remembered how God gave mankind the greatest gift of all time – Jesus, His son, born in a little barn in Bethlehem. We so marvel at the great love of God toward us sinners, that He would send His only Son to die for us, so we could be redeemed back to Him forever.

After dinner, we headed into the living room and sat down and read Luke Chapter 2. Then it was on to all the beautifully, lovingly wrapped presents under the tree. We would open them one by one, and there were always lots of surprises. We were all very blessed and thankful for all the gifts we received. When we were all done opening them, and the kids were looking over all the gifts they had received, I quietly walked out of the room and went to the basement unnoticed.

Little Red


I put a big ribbon on the bike, but there was one little problem. The paint I put on the night before wasn’t fully dried yet. I took the bike upstairs and walked into the living room with it. Joshua’s eyes got huge; he was absolutely thrilled. With all the nice gifts he had gotten, he never expected this too. He thanked us for it, and I told him he would have to wait a couple days to ride it to let the paint fully dry. He readily agreed to do this and thought my paint job was great.

The first tractor I ever bought, a Farmall 1206, my wife nicknamed “Big Red.” So now, Joshua’s new bike became “Little Red.” He rode it out in the barn, around the yard, out in the cattle pastures and fields. He even raced me uphill when I was cutting the hayfield next to the cow pasture. Most of the time he would beat me to the top of the hill. He and his Little Red had all kinds of energy. I would just have to smile and thank the Lord.

Well, boys grow up, and in time Joshua outgrew Little Red. But that bike was so special we never did get rid of it. It has a lot of wonderful memories.

The greatest gift of all, Jesus, never gets old, and we never outgrow Him. He is the most wonderful gift ever given to mankind. Bikes get old and break down, but Jesus never does. He is the same, yesterday, today and forever. He is love, and He is what every person in this world needs today. He is the baby, born in Bethlehem, whose birth we celebrate every year, and rightly so. He is what this world needs more than anything else. Christmas presents under the tree are really nice, but they don’t begin to compare to the greatest gift ever given: Jesus. Receive Him this Christmas and you will never be the same. end mark

Tom Heck, his wife, Joanne, and their two children own and operate a 35-cow dairy farm in Wisconsin. Contact Tom Heck  or order his book at Tom Heck.