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Sara HartGrammy nominated singer/songwriter Sarah Hart has a gift for music and lyrics so it's a good thing she didn't follow through on her initial career goals of becoming an archaeologist or pediatrician. During an interview with me on Christopher Closeup, Sarah laughingly recalled a conversation she had with her band director in high school. He asked her what her career aspirations were and she responded, "I might want to be a doctor." He just looked at her and said, "Honey, you're not gonna be a doctor."

While some might interpret the band director's response as harsh or condescending, Sarah appreciated him "speaking vocation into my life . . . I think it's something we need to be able to give our young people a little more—to say, 'Here are the gifts I see in you and here's a path that you can carve to use these gifts.'"

Most recently, Sarah has used her musical gifts to create a wonderful new Christmas album called This Winter's Eve. One of her goals is to help listeners better understand the great gift of Christ's Incarnation. In light of this year's Black Friday chaos, which Sarah likened to Mardi Gras before Ash Wednesday, she does her best to live out the message that Christmas isn't all about presents under the tree. She explains, "I know it probably sounds trite to a lot of people, but the best way to maintain a spirit of love is to give beyond yourself. Find a place to give a little of your money, find a place to give a little of your time. It's amazing how much Christ comes back to you when you do that."

Sarah's relationship with Christ goes back to her "cradle Catholic" childhood. She was raised across the street from a church that she used to sneak into to pray because she knew a side door that was always kept unlocked. She says, "For me, Christ was always present and the Incarnation was a very real thing. Even as a child, I didn't question it—and I know that's a huge gift . . . I feel that God's always walked with me and never let me go."

That love of God has led her to a successful career in Christian music where she's written songs for artists like Matt Maher, Audrey Assad, and Amy Grant whose hit "Better Than a Hallelujah" earned Sarah her first Grammy nomination for songwriting. But Sarah also enjoys stepping behind the microphone herself to perform songs she's written. That's especially true of This Winter's Eve, which, except for "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," is full of original music.

One of the album's most prayerful and meditative songs is "Let It Be So," which puts listeners into the mind of Mary as she says 'yes' to God's request to bear the Messiah. I like it because it provides deep insight into the thoughts and emotions that likely went through Mary's mind. The first verse asks, "What is it you see / What do I possess / Oh how could it be / That I should be so blessed? / I am nothing much / Neither saint nor queen / I am just a girl / And you are everything."