It is hard to believe that we are now entering the Christmas season. If you want proof just head out to your local Walmart or corner drug store and you will be greeted at the door with the latest electronic and techy Christmas decorations. Flashing lights, dancing snowmen and flood lights for your house that make it look like it is snowing at night! For most of us over 40 all the tech does nothing to get us in the mood for Christmas. No, we want to hear the Christmas music. The sounds of the Oak Ridge Boys, Alabama and Amy Grant filled our homes and cassette tapes in our cars. For the first time in 20 years music fans will be able to experience new Christmas music from Amy Grant. This album is reported to be a collection of 13 new recordings, including the title track, Tennessee Christmas, plus a blend of heartfelt originals and popular Christmas classics. If you are old school you might want to slip on in to your local LifeWay and pick up a copy but according to a report released last week, you will not be able to find it there. Not because it is sold out, LifeWay has chosen not to carry it. With over six million Christmas records sold, all of Grant’s prior holiday projects have been given platinum or gold certification, so it’s not that they think it will not sale. The early reports tell us that LifeWay believes that it is not “Christian enough.” Apparently this album is made up of songs that discuss the darker side of Christmas. Songs about loneliness, depression and dread that many people experience during this time of year. Grant’s long time manger Jennifer Cooke writes in the Washington Post that LifeWay’s choice to not carry the album is fine but they are missing an opportunity. She writes:
Having toured for so many years during the Christmas season, Grant has met many people who talk about the holidays with a sense of dread and despair — knowing that they will be alone without family or close friends. She wanted there to be a song on the record that gave a place for that type of emotion and that encourages listeners to reach out and connect with one another, to set an extra place at the table, and to extend it to someone who may be alone. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2016/11/01/amy-grants-new-christmas-album-reignites-the-old-whats-christian-enough-question/
Other conspiracy theorist claim that LifeWay will not carry the album because of Grant’s rumored widespread acceptance and love for her LGBT fan base. http://www.pridesource.com/article.html?article=59691 Either way, for whatever reason, I understand LifeWay’s decision to protect their brand, but I think they miss a great opportunity by not acknowledging the fact that Christmas is a hard time for many. Grant addresses a segment of our community that desperately needs to hear that Jesus is the Way. In all of the interviews I have seen or read I have never heard Grant deny Christ as Savior.
Artist like Amy Grant actually makes my job easier because she has an audience I could never break into. After listening to her music, if someone has questions of faith I would hope they would be more likely to seek out a conversation with someone like me who could offer answers from the Bible. She reminds us that there are people who are hurting during the happiest season of the year. It is a reminder that we should be looking for these people who are all around us, who need Jesus.
Make sure you look for opportunities to speak into our culture. You have great influence in the place where God has you. Don’t miss the chance to be salt and light to someone today. You never know what God will use to allow you to share your faith and witness.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
This is good and pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:3-4
Serving the Savior
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