Most of us who decorate for Christmas have, at least as a small part of the scenery, a Nativity scene. There’s the makeshift stable, featuring perfect-looking versions of Mary and Joseph and the little Lord Jesus, asleep in the hay, with shepherds, wise men, and assorted animals, usually a camel or two, surrounding the blessed scene. But when was the last time you looked at the humanity behind those (probably) mass-produced figures that stand so serenely?
My Christmas Song of the Day for December 14 was inspired by such a contemplation.
The story begins with a short book by Al Andrews. A Nashville-based counselor to many stars in Contemporary Christian music, Andrews found himself taking a late-night walk during the Christmas season of 2012. During his stroll, he encountered yet another of those all-too-perfect, all-too-plastic Nativity scenes. This time, instead of merely going by, he stood and contemplated it. These were real people with real concerns and not merely figures, he realized. His musings resulted in a book, A Walk One Winter Night: A Christmas Story, which he wrote early in 2013.
Before the book was published, he shared it with some of his musical friends to get feedback. One of those who was moved by the work was Nichole Nordeman, a Dove Award-winning singer with many hits in the Christian realm. Inspired by the yet-unpublished book, she wrote a song called “Real” to express her feelings. The song was released almost concurrently with the book during the Christmas season of 2013, and both became substantial hits in Christian book and music circles.
Nordeman’s “Real” was issued on CD for the first time on the 2014 edition of Wow Christmas. which is where I found it in my collection. I also heard it on a local Christian radio station during the season last year. Now I want to share this beautiful song with you.