Christ Is Born and All Is Well
There's a lyric in the second verse, however, that's raised some eyebrows: "My life is so small / So small a price to pay / To see my savior come / And take my sins away." Sarah explains that she believes the theological point that Mary was born without original sin, so she wouldn't have any sins to take away. But at the same time, "When you're writing a song from Mary's viewpoint, you have to really crawl inside this 14-year-old. I don't believe that Mary understood she was born without original sin. I believe she was so pure and so holy and so naïve that she wouldn't understand that. She would just say, 'Thank you God for coming to take my sin away.' So I think that's part of the craft that you do when you're a lyric writer. You have to put yourself into that situation in that person's head if you're telling a story."
A number of songs on This Winter's Eve were inspired by stories to which Sarah has a personal connection. "All Is Well," for instance, arose from the cancer death of a 12-year-old girl who was a family friend. Throughout the girl's ordeal, she clung to the words of Julian of Norwich, "All shall be well. All manner of things shall be well." Sarah says, "This is what we should perceive about the birth of Christ: the world is a wreck and a disaster and shall always be, but in truth and the heavenly reality, which is so different from our reality, all is well because God has kissed the world and said 'I love you and here's My gift for you, My gift of eternal life through My son.'"
One of the human embodiments of God's love in Sarah's life is her husband for whom she wrote the song "Bethlehem." The couple has been married for eighteen years and they have two daughters. Sarah wanted to write an honest song about marriage that acknowledged the fact that all relationships, even the happy ones, have their troubles. Even more than that, she wanted to highlight the fact that marriage is a sacrament: "For my husband and me, I wanted to paint that picture of . . . bringing our sacrament back to the manger year after year, turning to Christ with our brokenness in our hands and saying, 'Lord, continue to help us. Bless us and walk with us on this path of marriage. We come here to remember where love comes from. It comes from You. Please bless us with one more year of love for each other in our love for You.'"
Listening to This Winter's Eve, there's no doubt that Sarah Hart's love for God and for her family run deep. Her songs may help you grow in that same kind of love in your life.
Tony Rossi serves as host/producer of "Christopher Closeup," the radio show and podcast of. The Christophers, a Catholic non-profit that uses media to encourage people of all faiths to live gospel values.