Wednesday, December 10, 2008
WITH GREAT BLESSING COMES GREAT RESPONSIBILITY
Grammy Award winning singer/songwriter Amy Grant recently released “The Christmas Collection” which features perennial favorites from her first three holiday albums along with several new songs. I had the opportunity to talk with Amy on “Christopher Closeup” (full interview here) about the album and about the roots of sharing the blessings she’s been given in life. Here’s an excerpt:
TR: I’m always happy to hear a new Christmas song that I think can fit in with the old classics, and I think one song on this album that can do that is “I Need a Silent Night.”…How do you find peace during the holiday season with all you’ve got going on – the tours, the shopping, the usual stuff? How does Amy Grant find a silent night and a prayerful night?
Amy Grant: For the last several years, at least one night after everybody’s asleep, I will go build a fire, turn off all the lights except for the Christmas tree lights, pull out my guitar and sing. I guess all by myself with music and quiet, I’m welcoming the Christ child – just so the season doesn’t come and go and it was all wrapping paper and craziness, and I never really said, “I’m sure glad you came.”
TR: Amy, I want to jump to another project you had done. You wrote a book called “Mosaic: Pieces of My Life So Far.” In the book you mentioned that your grandparents taught you that with “great blessing comes great responsibility.” How did they teach you that?
Amy Grant: At one point in my life, when I was in my early college years, there were 5 generations alive in my family…and the gathering place was my great-grandmother’s farm. And this farmhouse was just the neatest thing...I refer to that because I knew from the time I was a little girl that they had willed that farm to a college, a university in Nashville. They really believed in education. I just grew up knowing that that was the plan. I think that just gave me a feeling in life that we are stewards, and not owners…
I think money is an important thing to give, but so much more than that is our time, our ideas, our encouragement. I’ve got a really good friend who moved to the states from Trinidad. She has a son with cerebral palsy and he’s racked up so many hospital bills. She called me the other day and said, “Amy, I’m not asking you for a handout but could you please get your women friends together and help me brainstorm? If I’m not afraid, I believe we can pay these bills off.”
I’m on the road all of October, November, December. I hung up the phone from my friend Deb and I called my assistant and said, “Would you check the Farmer’s Almanac and see what the weather’s going to be November 7th and 8th” - because usually in Tennessee there’s one little warm patch in November. In two weeks, we pulled together a yard sale. And actually I called the university that my great-grandparents willed their farm to. I said, “Is it okay if we have this yard sale on your campus?” And they said, “Yes.”
We had one day of drop-offs. I had no idea if anyone was going to drop anything off. We set up a hundred tables. We made $25,000 in one day!
And it was just – I said “bring your trash, bring your treasures.” I got on the radio, I got on TV. And I’m telling you the atmosphere at that yard sale – there were people from both sides of the tracks, every nationality from Nashville was there. You know, I look at that and think, ‘How boring if somebody had written a check for $25,000.’ And how exciting (it was) when a few hundred people in a community came together. There was so much love in that yard, it was awesome!
(To hear the full interview with Amy Grant, visit www.christophers.org/closeuppodcast.)