Brandon Heath Christmas Is Here Cover ArtIn the midst of the hustle and bustle of the busy weeks leading up to Christmas, singer/songwriter Brandon Heath has been helping listeners to slow down and take time to reflect on the real reason for the season with his latest album, Christmas Is Here.

In addition to including several Christmas classics, the album features three original songs. While listening to this album, Heath hopes people will be inspired to reminisce about their favorite Christmas memories, as well as combine old and new traditions that celebrate Christ’s birth.

One of the new songs, “Just A Girl,” is based on the perspective of the innkeeper who informed Mary and Joseph that there was no room available — except in the stable.

“I love telling stories through songs and wanted to write about a character that hadn’t been talked much about,” Heath said. “All we really know about the innkeeper is that he turned away Mary and Joseph. As I started telling the story about the innkeeper, I thought about the significance of his decision and wondered if he was remorseful about turning them away.

“I think it parallels all of us, that we all have these choices to make each day. Mary said yes, but the innkeeper did not. God can and wants to use us, but we have to be willing to say yes.”

As Heath maintains a busy schedule touring across the country, his concerts help raise awareness for missions organizations such as Blood:Water Mission, Young Life, International Justice Mission, Food for the Hungry, Restore International and other human rights organizations. Through his music and message, Heath hopes people are inspired to act.

And on a personal level, for every pair of shoes that Heath purchases throughout the year, he commits to fill a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child — a project of Samaritan’s Purse designed to spread the love of Christ to impoverished children around the world through a shoebox full of small gifts at Christmas.

“Not only does this project provide gifts for people who normally wouldn’t receive gifts this time of year, but it is a tremendous opportunity to reach a lot of people and share the gospel, which is the ultimate goal of Samaritan’s Purse and Operation Christmas Child. It’s a very active way of showing people who Jesus is — through loving the poor and having a heart for children.

“It brings a child great joy when they open up their shoebox, because it’s full of colorful things that now belongs to them. But more than the material possessions, it lets these children know that someone is thinking about them. It makes a child feel special, important and loved. Every child needs and deserves to feel that way.”

Countdown to Christmas…

Favorite Christmas food: Pumpkin pie (I don’t eat the crust, just the filling and lots of whipped cream!)

Favorite tradition: Going to a Christmas Eve service at my church. I love the candlelight service, and that’s when the spirit of Christmas really gets to me.

Favorite Christmas carol: O Holy Night

Favorite album: Bing Crosby’s White Christmas

Favorite movie: White Christmas (I love Bing Crosby!)

Are you the type of person who likes to peek at your presents before Christmas, or do you hold out? I hold out… I love surprises!

Do you know what you want for Christmas this year? The only thing that I want is Elfa, which is the shelving unit that you get at the Container Store. That’s basically the extent of what I’ve asked my family for this year.