During this holiday season, it’s fun to think about Santa and the joy of giving. To look at Christmas lights and sing carols. To bake yummy sweets and play games. But as I pondered about the holiday letter I would like to share with you, only one thought came to mind – the greatest Christmas love letter ever written.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned … This is the verdict: Light has come into the world … whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
The most powerful being in existence took on the helpless form of a babe. The King of Kings chose to arrive in a humble, muck-filled stable. All to start the greatest love story every told. He came because he loved you. He loved me. He loved all who came before and all who will come after. And he will go to any lengths not only to prove his love but to win our hearts in return. Even to the point of sacrificing his life to gain our freedom.
So as we drive through neighborhoods, oohing and aahing over the beautiful Christmas lights, let us remember the Light who came into the world. As we experience the joy of giving, let us remember the One who gave everything to win our hearts. And as we enjoy the precious gift of time spent with family, let us remember the Father who loves us unconditionally with an everlasting love.
Since I love a good carol, here are some good old country boys singing about the greatest gift ever given.
There are few things that get my heart to pitter-pattering more than a deep-voiced cowboy singing. That’s probably why I married my very own bass-singin’ Texan.
I’ve loved music all my life. From being a band nerd through junior high and high school to joining choir in college after I met the aforementioned bass-singin’ Texan. I love to sing, especially when there are rich harmonies. Probably because the church I grew up in (and the one I attend now) worship with a cappella singing. It’s a tradition I cherish, because my heart always soars when I hear those harmonies. And now that my kids are getting older, I can hear all 4 parts on my very own pew! My hubby sings bass, my 17 year-old daughter sings alto, my 15 year-old son sings tenor, I sing the lead soprano, and my 13 year-old youngest hops from part-to-part. I love it!
A couple years ago, my hubby introduced me to a group of a cappella county singers called Home Free. Does he know my sweet spot, or what? Definitely a keeper. Anyway, back to the group. They are made up of a few Minnesota boys, a fella from Georgia, and . . . you guessed it . . . a bass from Texas. Yee Haw! They won the 4th season of the NBC show The Sing Off back in 2013 and have gone on to have a well established career.
I thought I’d share a small sampling of their music with you today.
In this first one, they get together with the Oak Ridge Boys for a fun rendition of Elvira.
This is one of my favorites – Ring of Fire in honor of Johnny Cash.
And since Christmas is right around the corner, I thought I’d share a couple with a festive theme. The first is a carol I’ve loved since the first time I heard my three cousins (also singers) perform it at a family Christmas get together when we were all still kids. Do You Hear What I Hear? The second features Home Free with the legendary Kenny Rogers singing Children Go Where I Send Thee.
Today I’m traveling to St. Louis, MO for the American Christian Fiction Writer’s national conference. Since I’ll be in an airport or a plane most of the day, I’m afraid I won’t be able to interact with you as frequently as I normally do. I will be checking in through my phone when I can, though, so please do leave comments.
I’ll be teaching a session with fellow author, Jody Hedlund, as well as giving feedback on several critiques I did for unpublished writers. One of my favorite conference activities, though, is singing with the conference choir. Conference Choir? Your conference has a choir? Well, yes. Since this is a Christian writer’s conference, we have short times of worship every day (not with the choir–that comes later). Since our choir members come from all over the country, we don’t practice until we arrive at the conference, so we don’t sing until the end of the event – at the big awards gala.
I’ve made some wonderful relationships with these singer authors, many of whom, like me, return year after year. I’ve sung in several choirs and a cappella groups through my college days and worship at a church that sings a cappella (without instruments) every time we come together. So it should come as no great shock to learn that I love tight harmonies and fun a cappella arrangements.
I thought I’d share one with you today. The group is Home Free and they have done a fabulous remake of the classic Johnny Cash son, Ring of Fire. I’ve got a soft spot for deep male voices, and there are several in this piece that set my heart to fluttering. Enjoy!
What type of songs make you want to join in and sing?
Do you have a favorite artist or group that is your go-to music for when you need a pick-me-up?