In 2006, a small, one-room schoolhouse was the center of a major tragedy. A lone gunman entered the school and killed five students, injured five more, and forever changed the lives of many others. Tragedies such as this happen too often. What is sometimes surprising are the number of voices that call out for compassion, empathy, and even forgiveness towards those who have hurt us, our family, and our community. Carrie Underwood’s song “Love Wins” is not just about reaching out to our friends, family, neighbors, but also those who are different from us and even those who have hurt us. We don’t know what another person is going through, but only by approaching each other in the spirit of love and forgiveness can we begin to heal our hearts and community.
Key Lyrics: I, I believe you and me are sisters and brothers / And I, I believe we’re made to be here for each other / And we’ll never fall if we walk hand in hand / Put a world that seems broken together again / Yeah I, I believe in the end love wins
Questions: What have you found difficult to forgive? Were you able to let go of the hurt or grudge? How? Are some actions unforgivable? What examples of forgiveness do you see around you? How have you been forgiven?
Family traditions and rituals give us strength, teach us the meanings behind the things we celebrate, and connect us with our extended family and others around us. The song “That’s Christmas to Me” is not just a list of the things we value about the feast day but a reminder of the traditions we love and the closeness those traditions create between ourselves and those around us.
Key lines: The fireplace is burning bright, shining along me / I see the presents underneath the good old Christmas tree / …I see the children play outside, like angels in the snow / While mom and daddy share a kiss under the mistletoe / And we’ll cherish all these simple things wherever we may be / Oh, why? ‘Cause that’s Christmas to me
Questions: What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions? What have you learned from the tradition about what Christmas celebrates? When have you experienced the traditions of a different culture? What new traditions would you like to create with your family and friends?
The holidays pull us in many directions. Sometimes we don’t recognize the people most important to us who love us, shelter us, feed us until something forces us to slow down. Waiting can give us time to remember what and who we count on and how fortunate we really are. Tim McGraw’s song “Humble and Kind” reminds us to take stock of all we do have and be thankful.
Key Lyrics: Always stay humble and kind / Don’t take for granted the love this life gives you / When you get where you’re goin’ / Don’t forget turn back around / Help the next one in line
Questions: When have you been forced to slow down or wait for something? How did it make you feel? What did being made to wait make you realize?
In light of what’s happening in our world today (the multiple school shootings that seem to occur with alarming frequency, the terrorist attacks in Paris and Beirut), we’ve been hearing voices calling out for compassion, even forgiveness towards those who have hurt us, our loved ones, our neighbors. Tori Kelly acknowledges that some voids can only be filled with love and forgiveness, and it is in those moments we are sometimes closest to God.
Key Lines: I confess (yeah), my weakness / Til you pick up the parts that are broken / Pour out your perfection on me now / And hold me / Wrap me in love, fill up my cup / …Cause I’m hollow
Questions: What is a difficult thing for you to forgive? What are some actions you consider unforgivable? What are some examples of forgiveness that you see around? How have you been forgiven?