This soulful, spiritual Christmas song dedicated to the people of Music City is one you will not want to miss.
My dad has always had a heart for the homeless. As kids, he would take us around town, armed with clothing and bags of groceries, to pass out essentials for those in need in our community. Once, when I was a teenager, he dropped me off at an event in Nashville and – instead of going home and waiting for my call to be picked up – he passed out donuts to homeless folks in the park.
As a family, we have been able to serve our community through the work of the Nashville Rescue Mission, an incredible organization in Music City dedicated to bringing hope to those suffering from hunger and homelessness. Although my dad has worked with NRM in various capacities in the past, he hoped, this season, to take his passion for the homeless to the next level. Enter a faith-based Christmas song that every family should hear this holiday season. (Bias, aside!)
25 years ago, my dad, Dan Wilt, and longtime friend Bruce Ellis wrote a first version of the song, Make This Christmas Your Own. This year, the duo teamed up with Nashville-based music producer Sam Ellis to polish the piece, and released it just in time for the holidays. And, the lyrics could not be more timely.
"Sometimes, in the midst of all the activity, it can be hard to connect with the real meaning of the season," Wilt (my dad) said. "That’s where the music of Christmas comes in. Carols like “O Holy Night,” or “Joy To The World” help remind us of that first Noël – a night long ago when God pursued humanity with such great love."
More than a gentle fire, or a blanket of new fallen snow,
More than a quiet night, with family and friends,
Singing our favorite carols
More than that special gift, opened at last,
More than the warmth of my home,
Lord, would you make this Christmas Your own
The song was brought to life through a music video produced by Nashville filmmaker, Ryan Smith, who shot in the historic setting of the Tulip Street Methodist Church (you may recognize the sanctuary from Reba's "Back To God" video) as well as around the Nashville area. Following the musical performance, Wilt shares a hopeful message to listeners, explaining why the musicians feel so passionately about helping the Nashville Rescue Mission, and encouraging others to make a difference in their own communities.
"In the midst of all the meanings we give to the Christmas season, connecting people to the plight of the homeless through the song just seemed right," Wilt said. "The Nashville Rescue Mission has been a powerful force for change in our community. We believe in what they do, and love their impact on our homeless friends in Music City.”
We admire this sentiment as an inspiration across the South. It's a great reminder, no matter what state you live in, to be mindful of those who may need some extra help this season in your community. Maybe it's your local homeless shelter, food bank, or animal shelter – it's an incredibly Southern ideal to be gracious and generous with your neighbors.
You can download "Make This Christmas Your Own" and support Nashville Rescue Mission's life-changing work of helping the homeless in Music City at makethischristmas.com.