I hope you all are enjoying the Christmas season and having fun counting down the days with your family and friends. I’ve been out on the road doing some Christmas concerts and celebrating Thanksgiving with my sons and the Stanford football team in California, so I’ve just finally put up my tree!
For so many of us, the Christmas season is bittersweet. We experience the joy and the pain in technicolor as we hold sweet memories, sadness, songs and our Savior’s birth in our frail, very human hearts. Just ten days ago, my family marked 10 years since my daddy went to heaven at the age of 65. It hit me harder than I’d expected and I found myself crying on and off for days thinking about how much I miss him.
Since 2004, Christmas has never been the same for me and my family. But, like many of you, we hold on to the hope that we will be together again. That part of my story helped me realize that what we all are really longing for at Christmas is heaven.
No tears…no pain…EVERYONE we love in the room, and as we sing in the carol, O Come Emmanuel, “bid envy, strife and quarrels cease, fill the whole world with heaven’s peace”. As my family waits for my 94 year old grandmother to head there soon, I’m again reminded of that reality. No matter how pretty we make our homes, how perfect everything looks, it’s only going to last long enough to get some good pictures and hopefully build a few memories around the table with those we love.
Late last night, after a fun night with friends, I sat in the stillness by the tree. I felt like a kid on Christmas eve looking at the lights and counting down the days until my son, Graham gets home from college for a few days. Since he plays football, he’ll barely be here before he has to return to prep for their bowl game, Dec. 30th in the 49ers new stadium.
So many memories flooded my mind and heart and I just sat in those feelings for a while until I wandered off to bed. I’m grateful to finally be at a place in my life where I can allow myself feel the joy and the pain of life on this earth for 50 years and all that it’s held for me and my boys. I hope and pray that you may be able to do the same this year… in the midst of it all, even if it’s mostly pain. I’ve learned the hard way that if you “block the pain“, the also “block the joy, love and life” that helps us get up and face this crazy world another day. (I know you’re probably bombarded with a million things today, so I’m trying to keep this short, but please know that I know it’s not an easy 1-2-3 process that I’m talking about.)
I want to share a few songs via video from my Christmas tour, Christmas Back To You. I wrote the title cut when Graham was a Senior and I realized it was his “last Christmas” at home with me and Benji — just the 3 of us– as my “little boy”. It’s a tear jerker…. even this past Sunday night, at a concert in Birmingham, I couldn’t sing it without crying at the end.
That’s why I’m also posting the second one, Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas featuring my son, Benji (as a 14 year old who’ll turn 18 in a few weeks.) We had so much fun recording it and when I do it live Benji appears via video and steals the show every night! I’m also including a little video (Benji “Being Loud”) that I show before we do the song of Benji as a preschooler. It should’ve been a major clue to me that one day he’d inform me he wanted to be a rapper! He was “free-styling” as a four year old! Some big news will be announced in early 2015, so keep your ears open for more news on his music.
Click here for the Christmas Back to You video.
Click here for the Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas video.
Click here for Benji “Being Loud” video.
I truly hope that God’s peace and joy bring Christmas back to you this year.
Much love from my house to yours.