Isn’t Christmas glorious?
I realize some jeer ‘neath a Scrooge-like snarl at the suggestion that the most commercialized month on our calendars could also serve as the most wonderful time of the year. I get it. Our Western World culture has a tendency to go absolutely berserk over the holidays. Nutso. Loco. What’s new? We’re American. And if we are not careful, our ever-present inner cynics can smother our most positive thoughts of peace and good will with critical gestures of “bah-humbug.”
But I’m still a believer in Christmas. It doesn’t hurt that at least once a year, in the midst of a great deal of cultural conflict and confusion, the famous refrains of historic carols fill public places with sounds of hope. And peace. And love. I am still a believer in such things.
For most of us, our reality of the holidays lie somewhere between the utterly ecstatic, and the painfully depressing. Most of us are living in an in-between of daily circumstances that both beg our attention, while depleting our resources. Oh, and we have issues. You know, emotional and mental issues. The pesky kind. We are struggling with real life. Divorce. Cancer. Layoffs. We are praying for miracles, or at least a sign, yet are left with a lot of anxiety and heartache.
“… He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Dear Father Everlasting, ever-present never-failing, Master of Wholeness, Prince of Peace.” —Isaiah 9:6 (The Voice)
It seems to me that Jesus’ life was characterized by a sincere desire to be with people, no matter their issues. He looked beyond what they had done and affirmed who they are.
We focus a lot on “issues.” And though our conversations on how to solve each and every conflict are important, they pale in comparison to simply sitting with, listening to and seeing beyond each other’s issues so we can connect with each other’s hearts. Sounds a bit like communion, doesn’t it?
The artists featured throughout the next few pages have long been known for connecting with the hearts of many through music (Nathan Cochran of MercyMe, Laura Story, and Leigh Cappillino of Point Of Grace). But in these conversations, they share how discovering communion in the day-to-day—family meals around the kitchen table, worship times with their community of faith, sharing songs on record and on the road—is inspiring their own hearts, especially this Christmas.