Dec 2012 15

Most of us have searched in vain for words in response to the horrific massacre at Sandy Hook yesterday that capped off a year of senseless shootings in the US.  What evil could possibly provoke this young man to so viciously destroy the lives of innocent teachers and aides, and brutally steal the futures of pure, unblemished children?  The heartbreak and devastation that gushes out of a tragedy like this is simply unthinkable.

Last night and this morning I searched for answers in the pages of the Bible and all I could find were verses describing how much God loves those school staff members.  How much he treasures those precious young children.  How much His heart breaks for the families of those whose lives were rubbed out.

But I must admit, I still don’t get it.

But based on all I know about God and His love for His kids, I trust that despite all the pain and loss, He still understands… He still loves… and He still has a plan for a future and a hope for those who love Him.

Unable to find my own words to describe the feelings that wash over me this day, I am grateful for the words of my friend Stefanie Kelly and, with her permission, I have posted a poignant, tender song below that she wrote.  This beautiful piece of poetry was written years ago in the face of a tragedy in her own family and as a result of writing it, great comfort has been brought to many who have gone through their own personal crises.  As you listen, I pray you too will draw comfort in these sensitive, sweet words (lyrics reprinted below).

CLICK ON IMAGE

I KNOW HE KNOWS

I don’t know why the flowers bloom and then they fade
I don’t know when the winds will change
I don’t know why the love of many will wax cold
But I know He knows

I don’t know when the sun will shine or when it hides
I don’t know when the waves will subside
I don’t know why it takes a storm to make me grow
But I know He knows

And though my heart may never know the reason for the pain
And my eyes may only see the rain
The answers why may never come, but hope still floods my soul
I don’t know why but I know He knows

I don’t know why the heavens open wide and cry
I don’t know why the well, oh it runs dry
I don’t know how He turns a heart of stone to gold
But I know He knows

And though my heart may never know the reason for the pain
And my eyes, they may only see the rain
The answers why may never come, but hope still floods my soul
I don’t know why…

And though my heart may never know the reason for the pain
And my eyes, they may only see the rain
The answers why may never come, but hope still floods my soul
I don’t know why butI don’t know why

I don’t know why Messiah died for one like me
I’ll never understand His grace
I’ll never comprehend such love in Him alone
But I know He knows

Copyright 2003 Stefanie Kelly
Used and posted by permission.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Psalm 34:18

 

Sylvia is a singer and Christian women’s speaker, and lives in Southern California.

Read Sylvia’s other posts, and LIKE her on Facebook!

Dec 2012 04

 MUSIC!   

Every year, right after Thanksgiving, we hoist down the Christmas box out of the attic, and before locating the Santa Baby doll that was bought the year I was born, before unwrapping the delicate blown glass ornament my mother gave us when we were married, even before locating the fragile and precious paper ornament Mariah made when she was 5… I find the red leather portfolio that holds the Christmas music.

As I load the CD player with my love worn favorites, it doesn’t take but a second for the memories of Christmases gone by to wash over me.  Even though the Southern California sun may be burning brightly,  I am immediately transported to visions of a white Christmas as in my mind I slide down the hill in the snow on my red disk sled at Grandma’s mountain cabin.

Music does that.  It has magic qualities more powerful than any drug.  In fact, it can be one of the most effective therapies to completely change your frame of mind.  Just try to fight it.

If you’re happy, feel yourself slide into unbridled mirth after listening to Leonard Patton’s “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer (don’t miss it… it’ll make your day).   Experience the wonder of God’s gift to the world as you listen to Billye’s killer version of “Mary Did You Know?.  If you’re feeling blue, don’t even attempt to battle the change of heart a little Burl Ives’ “Holly Jolly Christmas” will cause within.  Feel the love flood over you as Bing Crosby sings “White Christmas“.  Taste the frisky as Natalie Cole and James Taylor purr “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”.   And  I dare you to withstand the weight of melancholy one second longer after listening to Chris Tomlin rock “Joy To The World“.

What are some of your favorites?     (Keep reading… contest details coming up…)

Below are some of mine.  For me, Christmas just isn’t Christmas without these in the rotation.  They’re all available on iTunes but just in case you’d like the physical CD or vinyl version, I’ve made it easy for you; all you have to do is click on the album cover image.   

 

All that’s ever required for me to truly exhale is a little sweet baby James.  How it took so long for this hero of mine to put out a Christmas CD is anyone’s guess, but a few years ago, it appeared… and it did not disappoint.  Let his version of Joni’s “River” wash over you and just say “ahhh…” .

I couldn’t squander this opportunity to shamelessly plug my own Christmas album, featuring a mix of jazz, Celtic, and traditional renderings of some classics.  I must admit though, I really do love this record and hope you will order a copy right now while it’s on sale for just $8!  Don’t miss “Uncle” Hugh’s “Have Yourself A Blessed Little Christmas”, with new sacred lyrics that describe the real Reason for the season. 

Staci Frenes is a fellow World Vision artist and an accomplished singer-songwriter with several records under her belt you won’t want to miss.  This holiday album is a favorite of mine… fresh and pure, and her song “Wise Men and Angels” will tear your heart out as you worship the Object of her affection.

Not only is my friend Mike Schmid a poet, keyboardist, arranger, producer, and father, but he also plays keyboards and sings with the likes of Miley Cyrus and many others.  His own Christmas EP is a favorite of mine and I know you’ll agree when you hear the beauty of his writing/arranging. Pay special attention to his original “Full House” and be transported to those raucous, fun, family Christmases full of your own family’s usual suspects.

What would Christmas be without a little “tender Tennessee Christmas”?  I never tire of this record by the sweet Amy Grant.  Click the image above and be taken to a site where you can get both this classic album along with her “Christmas to Remember”.

Need a lift?   A little Take 6 and you won’t be able to wipe the smile off your face.

Sara Groves is, hands down,  Wolf’s and my favorite Christian artist any time of year, but her Christmas offering is our favorite.  There isn’t anything this child of God writes, sings, or subscribes to that we don’t adore.

 What’s not to love about Michael McDonald?  When “Through The Many Winters” first came out a few years ago it was only available in Hallmark shops but now you can get it here. Click on the album cover image to pick one up for dirt cheap, and don’t waste a minute when it arrives!

 

Sylvia is a singer and Christian women’s speaker, and lives in Southern California.

Read Sylvia’s other posts, and LIKE her on Facebook!