What does Christmas mean? Santa? Silver bells? Carol singing? Shopping? Gift exchange? Family? Jesus Christ? With only a week left towards Christmas, we pause to ask Sandi Patty, Steve Ladd, Donna King and North Ireland's Revelation what Christmas means to them.
Sandi Patty, also known as the Voice, is one of Christian music's most accalaimed artists. With five Grammy® awards, four Billboard Music Awards, three platinum records, five gold records, and eleven million units sold, Patty explains what Christmas means to her : "Chuck Swindoll has been quoted as saying "this is the one time of the year that the world is singing our (Christian) songs." I love the idea of that quote. The message of Christmas, the celebration of Jesus' birth, the gratefulness to God for sending His only Son...THAT is why I love this season. There seems to be a little more kindness in the air....Good will toward all our fellow humans. I like that part of it too! As followers of Jesus, it's so important that we celebrate Him all year long, not just a Christmas."
Yet, Christmas can also be a perplexing time, drawing out all kinds of emotions, both happy and sad. In our recent interview, North Ireland's Revelation's Thomas McCalmont reveals that Christmas can be a sad season: "As it is me responding here, (Thomas) I can honestly say, it can be a sad time, as a close family, my only brother and I, grew up very close, as we both got married, and had families of our own, we were even closer, our kids where similar ages, my wife was very close to his wife, as her family had emigrated to Canada, My brother's wife was called Rhonda, she passed away in 2009 at Christmas time, due to a long fight with cancer, so I have to say when I consider this time of year....... It makes me very thankful, Rhonda knew our saviour Jesus personally! And now resides in Heaven! To all the families reading this, I say a special prayer for you all, asking God for a special touch upon you and you family."
Steve Ladd who has just released a new festive offering "A Christmas Hymn," gets to the heart of what Christmas means when he says, "I come from a very humble upbringing. So, I've never been a big "I want this" type of guy. I have, however, (since my children have come along) been guilty of making the day so fun with presents and gifts that it overshadows the true meaning. This year is going to be different! Now... there will be gifts. But, we are going back to basics and making the day more about the birth of our savior! I think God will honor that."
Producer, songwriter, music executive, and one half of the duo Zane and Donna King, Donna King illustrates further how the birth of our Savior affects us: "Christmas means LOVE and HOPE has come to earth and it has come to stay. And, that shimmering LIGHT of hope never burns out. Finally, I can live and laugh, and give and love, not just on that day, but always. My life and the lives of those I love can be experienced abundantly!
But, when He said abundantly, He didn't mean excessively. I think He'd rather we don't buy a single gift than to bring stress to our lives trying to GET our kids the biggest and best presents ever. I think He'd rather we celebrate the Savior holding hands than holding new things. Things don't last...but the LOVE of GOD is eternal and limitless. I think He'd rather we share food with the hungry than have the biggest Christmas feast ever. I think He's ok with Santa being a part of our holiday...as long as Santa isn't thought to the ONE who makes Christmas what it is meant to be. And, I don't think He feels that way because He wants the credit. I think He feels that way because He knows that, by knowing HIM, we will know Christmas every day, throughout every year."