Marshall said, “I remember a Christmas in my childhood. My parents split up. My sister was gone. I was invited to the house of the Italian Catholic family across the street for dinner on Christmas Eve. It was raucous and loud. They had a present for me, but at some point, I had to go back to my empty, dark house, and I just stared out my window at their house.” We ended up writing “Melancholy Christmas.”
The joyful songs felt more authentic because the sad side was embraced and validated—because it’s true.
CCM: I feel like people have come to expect this from you. You have always had a deep capacity for understanding heartache, sadness, for life’s pains. Does Christmas inspire a certain gladness and sadness for you personally?
AG: For me, even the most beautiful Christmases, it was always both things.
One of my favorite Christmas memories was in 1992. So many great things happened that year. One of them was when a lot of transformers blew up [in Nashville] because of an ice storm. I lived on a farm that happened to have a lot of fireplaces—it was a really old house—so we closed off parts of the house to keep it warm, and three or four families moved in. For several days we were without power, and I loved that.
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Thanks for the article about Amy Grant and for the reminder that Christmas can be both the most wonderful time of the year and can be some of the most challenging, as well. It’s a reminder that God is still in control no matter what we go through this or any time of the year.