Several special guests are helping wrap-up our Christmas feature and giving a glimpse of their plans for 2014!
** 2013 Dove Awards’ “New Artist of the Year,” for KING & COUNTRY, released their Christmas EP, Into The Silent Night — featuring Christmas classics “Angels We Have Heard on High” and “Little Drummer Boy,” along with original songs “Into The Silent Night” and “Baby Boy” (live and in-studio).
** Moody Radio’s On-Air Personality and Frontiers recording artist Perry LaHaie is currently touring in support of his CD, Ahead.
** Legendary vocalist John Schlitt released his first ever Christmas CD, The Christmas Project, on November 19. The Grammy and Dove Award winner is the former lead singer of Petra and has released four solo CDs.
** Twelve-year-old Christopher Duffley, who is blind and has autism, recently released his first CD, Eyes Of My Heart. The YouTube sensation has performed throughout the U.S., including singing the National Anthem at Fenway Park for the Boston Red Sox and performing in New York City for the prestigious Winter Ball for Autism at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Luke Smallbone (for KING & COUNTRY): It’s such a joyful season. I know that’s not everyone’s story, and it is a difficult season for many people. But for the most part, people are chipper and willing to help make a special Christmas for someone else. It’s probably the most charitable and giving time of the year.
Perry LaHaie: The joy of knowing that Messiah has come. Imagining what it must have been like on that night that Jesus was born.
John Schlitt: I love family gatherings… getting together with my kids, my grandkids and watching them have fun is priceless!
Christopher Duffley: I enjoy celebrating Jesus’ birthday, singing Christmas music and opening presents.
Share one of your favorite Christmas memories.
Luke Smallbone (for KING & COUNTRY): When we were kids, we had this tradition of taking pillowcases and drawing or painting on the outside of them. When they would dry, we would leave them out for Santa to put the gifts in. He put the gifts in each pillowcase at the end of our beds. When we woke up, the gifts were waiting for us. I remember waking up around 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning, excited to see if Santa had arrived yet. I remember one year asking for a drum set and wasn’t sure how Santa would pull it off. When I opened up my pillowcase, there was a pair of drumsticks. I immediately ran downstairs and saw the drums near the Christmas tree! That was such a special tradition for us growing up.
Perry LaHaie: Writing a Christmas song on Christmas Eve as I drove home to northern Michigan in a snowstorm. It’s called ‘Glory to God’ and is written from the perspective of one of the shepherds on the night Jesus was born.
John Schlitt: I surprised my two oldest sons with motor scooters back when they were very young. After all the presents were opened and they were happy with what they had, I walked up to them and said “You know what… I don’t think this is enough. Why don’t you go in the back room and see what’s in there.” They walked in, and the look on their faces was just so thrilling! I have many memories, but this is one of them.
Christopher Duffley: When I got a recorder for Christmas.
What’s your favorite?
– Christmas food:
Perry LaHaie: My sister’s mint brownies!
John Schlitt: My wife’s egg casserole and her homemade cinnamon rolls
Christopher Duffley: Cookies
– Christmas tradition:
Luke Smallbone (for KING & COUNTRY): My wife and I have a baby boy, so this is our first year to start our family traditions. I think we are going to continue the pillowcase tradition and also read the Christmas story.
Perry LaHaie: Watching “The Nativity.”
John Schlitt: Our Christmas morning meal (as you gather, food is pretty important to me during Christmas!)
Christopher Duffley: We have an advent celebration at my house every year.
– Christmas carol:
Luke Smallbone (for KING & COUNTRY): We have this new EP out that has the song “The Little Drummer Boy.” When we first decided to record it, we thought it was a cool song. As I was singing it in the studio, I was struck with how amazing the lyrics are. What a powerful message — that we don’t necessarily need to have everything together in our lives, but we can use our talents for the Lord and bring honor to Him, just like the story of the little drummer boy wanting to play his best for Jesus.
Perry LaHaie: O Little Town of Bethlehem
John Schlitt: It’s a toss between O Holy Night and What Child Is This
Christopher Duffley: O Holy Night
What are you most looking forward to this Christmas?
Luke Smallbone (for KING & COUNTRY): I’m very thankful to be celebrating this Christmas. It’s been a hard year, and I think this will be a special Christmas that we will never forget – just soaking it up and enjoying the day with family. I was very sick for a number of months and had to come off the road. Quite frankly, it was such a dark season in my life. So many times, I was in such pain that I wasn’t able to lift my son and play with him. In one of the darkest times, I was just having one of those nights where I was crying out to God, asking what He wanted from me and in desperate need of comfort. I felt Him say this, “Luke, no matter how difficult things might become or what you might face today or in the future, there is always hope.” I still struggle with my health and have come to a realization that I may never be as healthy as I was growing up. But in my weakness, God is very strong. In the reminders that I am sick, there are reminders of how much I need the Lord and how ready, willing and able He is to take my hand.
Perry LaHaie: Slowing down, getting off the treadmill of life and experiencing the hope of Jesus coming in a fresh way.
John Schlitt: Seeing my family together again.
Christopher Duffley: To be with family
What are your plans for 2014?
Perry LaHaie: To continue to discover God’s dream for my life by taking one step of faith at a time. God doesn’t give me the blueprint, but He gives me light for the next step. And as I take one step at a time in 2014, I’ll discover God’s dream, which includes knowing Christ more and bringing His Kingdom to earth as it is in heaven.
John Schlitt: To work on getting the word out about The Christmas Project, since the physical CD release will actually be in 2014 (it comes out digitally in 2013).
Christopher Duffley: I want to travel more and do concerts everywhere.