Part of CCM Magazine‘s The Conversations Issue (Dec. 1, 2017), CLICK HERE for Andrew Greer’s intro to this issue | Music is big-time at Christmastime–especially in Gospel music. The holiday recordings of artists like Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith and MercyMe encapsulate some of the most popular works in the history of Christian music. And though Mark Schultz—one of this month’s cover boys—has yet to record an entire holiday album (consider that on the top of our Christmas wish lists, Mr. Schultz), over the past three years his platinum-selling singer-songwriter prowess has been enduringly paired with December’s finest musical offerings thanks to his holiday heart-tugging song, “Different Kind Of Christmas” (buy single).
Provoked by a conversation with his wife, Kate, in which she expressed her deep feelings of loss during the holiday season after her dad lost his battle with cancer, Mark—with the sensitive assistance of songwriting legend Cindy Morgan—turned his wife’s raw emotions to the rhythm and rhyme of a verse and chorus in a bold ballad exploration of the lonelier side of the season. Going viral in 2014, the now-Number One song, and motivation for his current Christmas tour, has captured the ears and emotions of millions upon millions of listeners—a testament to the massive relatability of its’ contents and a witness to the fact that life does not take a breather … even at Christmas.
Enlisting Schultz’s laidback conversational demeanor to relax into this sensitive side of the season, the storytelling songwriter helps us mine the messiness of life—especially during the holidays—in this “Conversations Issue” chit-chat.
CCM Magazine: You married your wife when you were 35-years old. You started having kids at 40—so your kids are still young.
Mark Schultz: Yes. 5, 3, and 1.
CCM: So Christmas in your household is …
MS: … a blur. There were seasons when I would put up a Christmas tree and just look at it. Now we put up a fence around the tree because it gets yanked on, pulled over. We had to make a moat around the tree. It seems like we’ve always got a 1-year-old running around the house. [Laughs]