For many, Christmas is a time of jubilation and harmony. For others, it can hold painful memories and serves as a solemn reminder that even amid a season of hope, we are not immune to sadness. Nevertheless, the Savior’s light shines most brightly in dark places, thus we can celebrate no matter the circumstances. What follows is a story of deep sorrow transformed by Christ into righteous joy.
Lowell “Bud” Paxton’s broadcasting career led him from radio to TV and the birth of the Home Shopping Network. He was flourishing, yet his business ventures kept him busy and away from home, so much that he did not realize his marriage was failing. On Christmas morning, 1986, at the height of his business success, Bud’s life hit rock bottom.
“We were living in Florida at the time, and all my family went downstairs and gathered around the Christmas tree,” Paxton says. “We sang a few Christmas carols and opened our presents.” Shortly after, his wife took him aside and explained that she was leaving him for another man. Within the hour, she took her presents and left.
Bud’s charmed situation was now a nightmare. Helpless, he knew there was nothing he could do to heal the marriage. It was broken beyond repair. He was left surrounded by the trappings of success, yet he was miserable.
His grown children insisted he accompany them on a planned holiday vacation to Las Vegas. “We had front-row seats on New Year’s Eve to the Buddy Hackett show,” he said. “Everyone was laughing, and I was sitting there crying. I was a broken human being.” After midnight, Bud slipped away to his hotel suite. Unable to sleep, he got up at 4 a.m. and started looking for a Gideon-placed Bible. He desperately searched every drawer until he found one.
Bud opened the Bible randomly to the fifth chapter of Job, and read how God rescued Job from hardship and despair. He then turned to the front of the Bible and found directions to verses that explained how to have peace with God. In Romans 5:8, he discovered that Christ had died on the cross to pay the debt for his sins. In that moment, Bud decided to stop pursuing all the pleasures of the world and to start pursuing a relationship with the Lord.
“When I put my faith in Jesus Christ, an overwhelming peace came over me. I knew at that moment that God loved me. I knew He was with me.”
The strong desire to serve God with his life and business led to many changes. Bud later sold his investment in the Home Shopping Network and eventually created Pax TV, now known as Ion Television, a family-centered network with the aim of providing spiritually-based positive programming for families to watch together.
“I regret I had to hit bottom before I was willing to listen to God,” he says. “But I’m thankful He was there waiting for me.”
The Bibles placed by The Gideons International, in hotel rooms and elsewhere, are funded by the generous support of partners like yourself. This Christmas season will open many hungry hearts, providing a prime opportunity for the Gospel to enter. One way to contribute to our global endeavor of spreading the Good News is through Christmas GideonCards. Learn more here: https://give.gideons.org/christmas/