Point of Grace has long been known for spreading glad tidings of good cheer at Christmastime. Their dazzling holiday discography (three bestselling recordings to date) have filled the hearts of millions of homes thanks to the trio’s timeless blend of sentimental yuletide track lists and dazzling vocal harmonies.
But for Shelley Breen, Leigh Cappillino and Denise Jones—the women that make up the legendary group—celebrating Christmas is much more than waxing nostalgia through music. A fervent love for God and people has driven their desire to create music together from the beginning. In this special Christmastime conversation, Leigh Cappillino explains how family, food and yes, music, create communion for the group, and for her family—especially during the holidays.
CCM: Point of Grace’s holiday recordings have become a staple in folks’ holiday celebrations across the country. They have also become a significant part of the group’s career. How has the music of Christmas impacted you personally?
Leigh Cappillino: Christmas music made an unforgettable impact on me at a very early age. Our small, country church would have the children and youth Christmas musical each year, and I was never too shy to sing or dress up like an angel. [Laughs]
Christmas music is played at our home starting November 1 and is sung loud and proud, even past the New Year. Since Christmas is also a busy touring time for Point of Grace, our kids have grown up traveling with us on the bus. This is an anticipated time for all of our kids. They still love it! We have collected so many wonderful memories over the years.
CCM: Point of Grace has three Christmas records to date, plus yuletide contributions on a plethora of holiday albums—including this year’s An Angel Band Christmas by yours truly. What continues to compel you ladies to record and tour the sounds of the season?
LC: I think Christmas music allows artists—especially groups like Point of Grace—to exploit harmonies like never before. Often times in the recording process, too much harmony is considered “not cool,” but for some reason Christmas music doesn’t take on that offense. The more harmonies, the better.
Point of Grace is known for its harmonies, so recording and touring Christmas music never gets old.
CCM: Life is tough. And life does not quit for the holidays. One of my favorite Point of Grace Christmas songs is “Immanuel.” How does this “God with us” message resonate with you in the midst of day-to-day living—at Christmastime and all year long?
LC: The song “Immanuel” has meant as much to us as it has our audiences. No one is excused from pain and sorrow. My Granddaddy died on Christmas day many years ago. I remember year after year trying to celebrate Christmas, yet feeling his absence and the absence of tradition with him. It was tough, and weird and very difficult.
So when we sing that song in particular, we not only relate personally, we recognize others need to be reminded of the comfort He brings—especially during the Christmas season.
CCM: You are a mother of a teenager and a toddler. As a parent, and a disciple of Christ, how do you help instill this idea of everyday communion with Emmanuel, “God with us,” in the lives of your kids?
LC: Wow. What a question.
Well, my husband Dana and myself are pretty transparent and vulnerable with our kids. Since we are not perfect, we appreciate God’s grace, mercy, forgiveness and compassion on a regular basis, and thus we try to instill those same beautiful traits to and towards our kids.
I tell my 13-year old daughter before she goes to school (my toddler doesn’t quite understand yet), “Be a light and make it count!” If we can be that light, then we are recognizing God’s power is with us and in us day by day.
CCM: Lessons in communion begin at home, often around the dinner table. I personally have been a recipient of sweet food and company around your table. How does the dinner table fit into the Cappillino’s Christmas traditions?
LC: I grew up having dinner every weekday evening with my family. Sunday dinner (lunch was called “dinner” on Sunday because it was always extra special) was a big deal. You didn’t miss it! The food was outstanding. Granddaddy’s cubed steak; Rara’s roast; Aunt Billie Jo’s macaroni pie, and Mom’s chocolate pie. Those are just a few of my favorites I could count on.
Mealtime meant people time. No one was in a hurry to get up, clean up or leave. We celebrated each other’s company and talked about current and community events of the previous week. I wanted to keep that tradition as sacred with my family as it was for me growing up.
Dana and I love having people over, and our kids have become quite accustomed to it as well. Our family has recognized the importance of eating together. We get to review the day’s activities—good or bad—and hear the heart of our kids. Staying connected is key. And if you need a piece of chocolate pie to help you connect, I say, “Eat up!”