Courtesy Phillips, Craig & Dean

Christmas comes with a lot of expectations.

Gifts, cards, hosting, visiting, shopping, wrapping, cooking…then the Christmas play at church and school and the office Christmas party…

The list goes on and on of all the fun ‘stuff’’ we get wrapped up in at Christmas time. It’s probably not a stretch to say that this busy season of busy-ness comes and goes in a blur; which is convenient for lots of us.

Blurs hide things. Blurs distort so that, be it joy or pain, you can’t focus long enough to feel any of it.

Because, while of the fun, happy stuff creates an umbrella with which to weather the rest of the season, some of the rain inevitably seeps in.

Broken homes, relationships, illnesses don’t care that it’s Christmas time.

Christmas can be hard.

But Christmas can also be the catalyst of a new paradigm for life — hope. That’s the heart of Phillips, Craig & Dean’s latest Christmas album, Hope for the World.

“People seem to really be struggling right now,” says Randy Phillips. “There’s this hopelessness people have with the economy, their spirituality, finances, health…people seem to be living in the margin with no additional time to breathe. That ‘s why Christmas is the perfect time for God to step in the middle and breathe into us hope.”

And on this, their first Christmas project in years, PC&D offer just that — hope.

The track listing includes traditional carols alongside some originals, all masterfully put together by producer, Nathan Nockels.

“He is such a clever genius,” says Randy. “We’ve been singing for 23 years and you can get locked into singing a certain way. He brings such a fresh approach.”

Sonically, the album is a holiday masterpiece. It is saturated with words of expectation, redemption and hope.

For Randy, though, the album isn’t first in his mind this Christmas.

“This Christmas is going to be extra special,” says Randy. “My father has just come through his last round of chemo and my sister was just diagnosed with leukemia. Everything sort of slows down. It’s not about the presents and other things. Those are great, but you have to take this moment to be in your life. Be in the lives of those we love so much. Life is brief. I want to make sure I’m inhaling every sunrise.”

After such a long career and such stark family interruptions and challenges, PC&D are acutely aware of the time they are or are not with family…This year, the three pastors will hold the Christmas Eve service at their respective churches, but then, it’s all about family. And hope.

“This Christmas will be extra special,” he reiterates. “It will be more reflective and probably more memorable.”

In other words, this Christmas will not be a blur.

The ‘stuff’’ of life will not numb or distract.

Rather, with patience, intentionality and gratitude, PC&D will be savoring each moment and emotion — good and bad.

And then, they will rest in, celebrate and worship the One who offers what everyone wants at Christmas — hope.

Click here for more info on the album.


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