My Christmas Wish for America: Truth

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This holiday season, I’ve been doing some reflection on the meaning and complexity of the truth.  Truth can be powerful.  It can bring healing. It can bring change. It can bring peace and closure. It can truly rock one’s world.

The truth can also be devastating.  It can cause injury. I’ve even seen some Christians use truth as a weapon.

Christmas brings with it a reminder of the importance and effectiveness of truth.  After all, the baby Jesus was the embodiment of truth and grace. Thus, my Christmas wish for America is that truth would reign and we embrace the “Word” full of grace and truth.

The Effectiveness of Truth

There is a constancy and unchanging quality to the truth.  It is what it is. It can appear to be rigid and unforgiving.  It can’t be anything but what it is – true.

The effectiveness of truth, however, is based on how it is used and how it is couched.

In the Gospel of John, the scripture says, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory as of the Father, full of grace and truth.” A key takeaway from this scripture is the mention of grace alongside truth.  

In baby Jesus, we find truth wrapped in grace.  Truth wrapped in something soft and warm that we can embrace.  God knew what He was doing when He sent Jesus in the form of a baby. Even the most hardened cynic will soften at the sight of a baby.

The Elusive Truth

Today, truth seems to be elusive. What is true to me, might not be true to you.  Regardless of the perspective, the media inevitably adds its own spin to the truth as well. Lately, just because something is on the Internet does not mean that it is true. Regardless of your views on “fake news,” we do know that there is a “deceiver” and he brings about dissension and division. It is based on the lack of truth.

Truth and America

Those in the leadership of our government don’t seem to be able to agree on the facts of almost anything.

I spend a lot of time in our nation’s Capitol and in congressional offices.  I am able to engage with men and women who occupy positions of power.  It is their job to make laws and decisions that affect our nation. I sometimes overhear conversations between members of Congress and shake my head at what I hear.

It’s fascinating hearing opposing points of view on political topics.  From office to office I hear various versions of the “truth.”  It is no wonder that our government is at a point of stagnation. There is no agreement on the facts or the truth. Each political party has their own facts and their own talking points. They talk past each other and the truth is lost in a sea of deception.

With no place of agreement as a starting point, it is not surprising that very little seems to be accomplished in our government.  When truth is preeminent and agreed upon, it gives us a point from where we can begin to have meaningful dialogue.  

As I walk the halls and pray with members of Congress, I will often pray that their minds and their mouths would be filled with truth. It doesn’t matter what political party one might align with, everyone needs to embrace the truth.  

The “Word” in the form of Jesus was “full of grace and truth.”  On Capitol Hill, I see very little grace and very little shared truth.  Harsh vitriol and partisan rhetoric rule the day.  Agreeing on truth that is filled with grace is vital.

My Christmas Wish For America

The ultimate hope for humankind comes in the “Word,” in the form of a baby, the sacrificial Lamb who takes away the sins of the world.

The hope of our nation does not reside in a political party. Our hope is not dependent on the party of the donkey or the party of the elephant.

The hope of our nation, our world and of humankind resides in the in the party of the Lamb. Only as we gather together under the banner of the Lamb will we see our nation continue to see God’s blessing.

That all men and women would embrace The Truth is my Christmas wish for America.  

Check out the newest Christmas album from Steve Amerson, "We Need A Little Christmas."  It features 11 all new recordings of your favorite Christmas songs and carols.  Available now, on CD and digital download.

What Christmas Means To The Amersons

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The holiday season has always been a special time in the Amerson household. Even in my childhood, the month of December was filled with concerts, family gatherings, and various celebrations.

Christmas Music

My father was a pastor and my mom directed the children’s choir at the church. Growing up in the parsonage and a musical household pretty much guaranteed that I participated in numerous presentations at school, in the community and at church during the holiday season. Christmas concerts, pageants, and services would normally start immediately following Thanksgiving and go through Christmas Eve. Sometimes Christmas has landed on a Sunday, and I’ve even sung or led worship on Christmas Day. It’s all part of being a musician.

So while Christmas has meant lots of musical activities, our family has always tried to remain focused on the true reason for the season. It was and continues to be our goal to keep our eyes on the manger. Our family’s musical songbook included “Winter Wonderland,” and “Jingle Bells” but we also knew that “O Holy Night, Silent Night” and “O Come All Ye Faithful,” directed our hearts and minds to the babe in a manger. “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” is on target as is says, “The hopes and fears of all the years are met in Thee tonight.”

Family Celebrations

Besides the musical performances and presentations, my parents and brothers would always have our family celebrations. Before we opened our gifts on Christmas day, it was our tradition to read the Christmas story.  As a child, I endured the reading of the story of the nativity before opening our gifts and my older brothers would always tease me by suggesting that we should not only read the account from the book of Luke but also from the book of Matthew.  I could barely endure one version but such was the lot of being the youngest in the family.

My mother would always make the most of the holiday time meticulously decorating our home while my brothers and I would hang lights outside. A great meal, including my grandmother’s recipe for yeast rolls, was a part of our Christmas celebration. It was also not out of the ordinary for there to be guests at our dining room table who had no place to go for our Christmas meal. It was part of being a reflection of God’s love as we celebrated the birth of Christ.

Memories of My Mother

While the holidays were special to our entire family, they were an integral part of my mom’s life. My mom was born on Thanksgiving Day and she passed away Christmas morning. Waking up Christmas morning and learning of mom’s passing was in some ways sad, but we knew that she was with the angels singing praise to the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.

It’s my prayer that each of us will allow our hearts to be a manger where the Christ child can be born.

Check out the newest Christmas album from Steve Amerson, "We Need A Little Christmas."  It features 11 all new recordings of your favorite Christmas songs and carols.  Available now, on CD and digital download.

Just Why Do “We Need a Little Christmas?”

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One of my favorite holiday songs is “We Need a Little Christmas.” This fun, joyous Christmas selection is filled with lyrical descriptions of the holiday season matched with a melody that exudes the spirit of the season. The words of the lyric mention holly, a Christmas tree, stockings, tinsel, fruitcake, evergreen bows, carolers, strings of lights, snow, Santa and a host of other holiday images. In addition to simply mentioning jolly holiday imagery, the overall feeling of the song lifts your spirit. For that reason, sometimes we just need a little Christmas.

That said, we actually need not just a “little” Christmas but lots of Christmas. In recent days, our world has experienced hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and shootings. It is almost as if our world is crying out for the healing and peace that is inherent in the birth of the babe in the manger. Our world needs the Christmas spirit now more than ever to provide a sense of peace, as well as act as a reminder in hard times that Jesus is the answer.

Christmas Offers a Hefty Dose of Peace on Earth

The world desperately needs a hefty dose of peace on earth and good will towards all. If Santa could pull that out of his bag on Christmas morning, that would be great. However, all we really find in Santa’s sack are temporal solutions to our earthly wants and desires. The reality of life is that the gift we need comes not in the shiny wrapping of a package but in the presence of a tiny babe. We need the presence of God and not mere presents.

The Manger Provides the Answer

Years ago, my friend, Lowell Alexander and I composed a song entitled, The Manger Held It All. Oftentimes people say, “Jesus is the answer.” And while it can sound trite and simplistic, Jesus is the answer. In that tiny babe, the manger did, in fact, hold the hopes and fears of all the years and the hopes and fears were met in the birth of the baby Jesus. The truth is that the Christmas present we need doesn’t come under the tree, but actually hung on a tree. The Father’s gift of his son. Jesus is where our focus should be.

As the earth groans under the weight of hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes and as humankind moans with brokenness of the human condition we do need a healthy dose of the true meaning of Christmas and we need as much of as we can get.

Carry the Baby With You This Christmas

A baby always seems to bring out the softer and gentler side of a person. During this holiday season, make a conscious decision to carry the babe in the manger with you. Be a gift giver to those you encounter this holiday season. And if you get bumped during this hectic time of year, make sure that God’s love and grace spills out onto others. Give a gift of grace to those you touch who need a healing dose of peace on earth!

Check out the newest Christmas album from Steve Amerson, "We Need A Little Christmas."  It features 11 all new recordings of your favorite Christmas songs and carols.  Available now, on CD and digital download.