Monday, December 15, 2014

Author Spotlight + GIVEAWAY: Tricia Goyer, Cara Putman, Sarah Sundin


This picture says it all! Three beloved Christian authors of World War II-era fiction have come together to gift their readers with the new Christmas release, Where Treetops Glisten. Tricia Goyer, Cara Putman and Sarah Sundin invite readers to turn back the clock to days gone by as they listen to Bing Crosby sing of sleigh bells in the snow and get to know the Turner family. Hailing from the heart of America in Lafayette, Indiana, these characters will never be the same as the reality of America’s involvement in World War II hits incredibly close to home.

With its family emphasis, spiritual insights, World War II theme, romance, and the clever use of beloved Christmas carols that debuted during the era, this collection stands out among other Christmas stories. (Please see my review here.) I appreciate Litfuse Publicity sponsoring this giveaway, details of which are at the end of this post, and hope you'll enjoy this interview with Tricia, Cara, and Sarah.



An interview with Tricia Goyer, Cara Putman & Sarah Sundin
Authors of Where Treetops Glisten


Q: How did the three of you decide to collaborate on a collection of novellas together?

Cara: I’d written in a couple of novella collections and loved the collaborative aspects. Writing is often solitary, but when you’re working on a collection with other writers, you have fun opportunities to work together. I asked Sarah and Tricia if they’d like to work together because I love their World War II stories, and I love their hearts. I also thought this was a sneaky way to get to know them better. It’s so fun now to have a book we’ve written together!

Tricia: The coolest thing about Cara approaching me is that I highly respect both Cara and Sarah for their writing abilities and their love of World War II. There aren’t many people I know who enjoy both of these passions, just as I do, and it was easy to say YES!

Sarah: When Cara invited me to participate, I was thrilled. We all liked the idea of using one family’s experience over the course of the war to tie the stories together.



Q: What themes run through each of the stories in Where Treetops Glisten to tie the book together?

Sarah: In all three of the stories, someone is overcoming grief or loss, and someone is dealing with regrets of the past. Strong themes of healing and reconciliation and hope run through each story. Giving is also a crucial element, which is appropriate for Christmas stories!

Tricia: I also love the use of Christmas songs from that era. The title, Where Treetops Glisten, may be very familiar to readers. Also each novella is named after a popular Christmas tune from those years!


Q: Each one of the three siblings in the books has to chart his or her own path. How is the love of their family a support system for them, even as they make their own life decisions?

Sarah: Pete’s always seen himself as the black sheep of the Turner family — but as a much-loved black sheep. His family was there for him during his wild youth, and they’re there for him when he returns from his combat tour drained of hope and joy. They offer wisdom and humor and encouragement.

Cara: Abigail has keenly felt the shortness and unpredictability of life. Because of it, she’s afraid to chase her dreams or really dare to dream. Her family provides the support and stability to try even when life is something she can’t safely manage.

Tricia: Meredith (Merry) is the wanderer. She is the one who moved to Florida to attend nursing school as soon as she graduated from high school. She’s the baby of the family, and she’s always tried to prove herself. Yet as the years go by, and as Merry finds herself serving as a nurse in Netherlands, she realizes the place she wants to be the most is home — back with the family she loves.


Q: The three novellas are all titled after a Christmas song that became popular during World War II. Can you share a little of the history behind the songs and how they became a part of the book?

Sarah: Since so many great Christmas songs debuted during World War II (“White Christmas” in 1942, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” in 1943, and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” in 1944), I’ve often thought those songs would be a fun way to connect a novella collection, so I suggested it to Cara and Tricia, and they liked it too.

Cara: I loved the idea of using the Christmas carols to connect the stories. So many of those songs are a big part of Christmas even today! But we still had to figure out the rest. Christmas carols alone wouldn’t be enough for three stories to come to life. Once we were all on board, we had a conference call to figure out the rest.

Tricia: I used my song title, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” as an inspiration for my character too. I have a friend named Merry who was born on Christmas . . . so I used that for my novella! Meredith is nicknamed Merry, and her name plays into the story; that song makes its way into the novella too!


Q: Each of the characters in this book has to overcome not only personal obstacles, but also cultural conditions he or she has no control over. What lessons can we learn for our own times from their stories?

Tricia: The issue of “cultures” comes up strongly in my novel. Before the war, Meredith had fallen in love with a man from Germany. After Pearl Harbor, he abandoned her and returned to Germany, breaking her heart. Old and new feelings crash within her as their unit prepares to enter Germany. Meredith also cares for German soldiers who are brought into their field unit.

The lessons I hope the reader walks away with is that our nationality is only a part of who we are. Our family situations, and our faith, also make us who we are.


Q: One thread that ties all of the stories together is the siblings’ grandmother. What do they learn from her lessons of wisdom and faith that help develop their own choices?

Cara:  Grandma was such fun to write! She was feisty but with a deep love for her family. She provides the perspective of time and experience to each of the siblings — yet in a different way to reflect their unique journeys.

Tricia: I loved including a “grandma” in the story since my Grandma lives with me. I love the unconditional love and snippets of wisdom that come from the older generation.


Q: What is it about the Christmas season that engenders such a strong feeling of warmth and love?

Cara: There’s a freshness and sense of wonder to Christmas. The idea that God would send His son to earth as a newborn is an incredibly humbling thought. There’s also the cleanness of fresh-fallen snow that always makes me think of what Christ did on Calvary. Combine that with great music, tradition and the love of family, and it becomes a magical time where almost anything seems possible.



Learn more about the authors!

Tricia Goyer - triciagoyer.com, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest

Cara Putman - caraputman.com, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest

Sarah Sundin - sarahsundin.com, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest

____________________

GIVEAWAY

To enter the drawing for Where Treetops Glisten, simply answer the following question:


Since music plays a big part in this book, what is a
Christmas song that you never tire of hearing or that
holds special meaning for you?

E-mail addresses are required for the drawing and be sure to leave them in a safe format - [at] and [dot]. If you're willing, it's also helpful to share about this giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter.

"Likes" on my Facebook page, ThePowerofWordsBookReviews, are greatly appreciated, as are followers on Google+, Pinterest, Twitter, and this blog.

  • E-mail required, one entry per person. Odds of winning are based on number of entries.
  • Contest ends at midnight PST on Saturday, December 27.
  • Winner will be chosen by Random.org and contacted by e-mail. Respond within 48 hours of notification or another winner will be chosen.
  • Eligibility: US residents, 18 and older

86 comments:

  1. I love the song, Mary Did You Know. It makes me cry every time. Here are some of the lyrics that touch me deeply:

    Mary did you know that your baby boy will some day walk on water?
    Mary did you know that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?
    Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
    This child that you've delivered, will soon deliver you.

    Blessings and Merry Christmas!
    Judy B
    judyjohn2004(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Judy, there's lots of Christmas music that I enjoy, but I think Mary Did You Know is one of the most meaningful to me. It's hard not to tear up whenever I hear it, especially when I hear Mark Lowery sing. Thanks for sharing, Judy.

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  2. I can listen to Mary Did You Know over & over.. love it.. I enjoyed meeting you all today :)
    dkstevensne AT outlook dotCoM

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  3. I loved meeting you all today, fun to get to know the authors :)
    I can listen to Mary Did You Know over & over... love that song !
    dkstevensne AT outlook DotCOm

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    1. Whenever I hear Mary Did You Know, I can't help but think this is what Christmas is supposed to be about. Thanks for coming by, Deanna.

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  4. I love Winter Wonderland.

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

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    1. That's always a fun song to listen to, Melanie. Snow is rare where I live, so it's always fun to imagine a "winter wonderland" here.

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  5. My favorite is Let there be peace on earth but a song by Vince Gill called It won't Be the same this year also is important to me as it is about family

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    1. Great choice, Jackie! I've got that song on my iPod and it always touches me too. Thanks for sharing with us.

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  6. I forgot my e mail
    mcnuttjem0 at gmaildot com
    Thank you

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  7. There are many Christmas hymns that I enjoy but one that I especially like is "What Child is This?"
    I've read and enjoyed books by all three of these authors so would love to win Where Tree Tops Glisten. Thanks for the chance.
    pmkellogg56[at]gmail[dot]com

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    1. That's a song I always enjoy playing instrumentally at our Christmas Eve service, Pam.

      I've enjoyed Tricia and Sarah's stories many times, but this was my first of Cara's. All were very good in this collection. Thanks for coming by, Pam.

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  8. I never get tired of hearing "White Christmas." Bing Crosby's smooth voice always sounds fresh and new! And I love the movie, too.

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    1. Susan, when my daughter was growing up, watching White Christmas together was a tradition with us. Now she lives in Germany and can't come home this year, but we still try to watch it wherever we are. Thank you for sharing.

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  9. Mary did you know!!
    rita dot navarre at yahoo dot com

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    1. Definitely a favorite with our commenters, and mine as well. Thanks for dropping by, Rita.

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  10. One of my favorite Christmas songs that I received as a child, on a 45 record is, "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies".
    Janet E.
    von1janet(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Oh Janet, I remember those 45s too! And that's such a cheerful song. Good to see you here, as always.

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  11. Cnnamongirl(at)aol(dot)com
    Winter Wonderland by Bing Crosy is the song I never tire of hearing. I have great memories of listeing to it with my mother and it's always a feel good happy memory.

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    1. Deanne, I have so many sweet memories of Christmas music mom shared with me - and I think the Lawrence Welk show is one of my first memories. Good to see you here today.

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    2. Oh yes Christmas music with Mom always so many wonderful memories. Lawrence Welk was really something wasn't he Carole Jarvis ? Thank you Carole, it is wonderful to visit with you. Merry Christmas as we keep "Christ" in Christmas !

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    3. I guess it was unusual for a girl of my age to enjoy Lawrence Welk with her mom, but the music was of high quality and the performers such fun to watch. I always wanted to dance like Barbara & Bobby and play piano like Jo Ann Castle!

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  12. O Holy Night is always my favorite.
    What a great trio of authors!
    pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

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    1. You're the first to mention O Holy Night, Ruby, and it's definitely one of my favorites. I love playing it on Christmas Eve. Thanks for visiting today.

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  13. I've always loved I'll Be Home for Christmas, it brings special memories of getting to go home for the holidays, especially since too many I've spent thousands of miles away.
    worthy2bpraised at gmail dot com

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    1. Merry, that song just tugs at the heartstrings, doesn't it?! Being away from loved ones is especially hard during the holidays. Hope you're home this year!

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  14. I've always loved I'll Be Home for Christmas. I am the wandering one of our family, so any Christmas spent back home is special.
    worthy2bpraised at gmail dot com

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  15. Carol of the Bells :)
    Krista D
    LifeOnGravellyRoad [at] hotmail [dot] com

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    1. Good choice, Krista! I always enjoyed singing Carol of the Bells in high school chorus - or trying to! Thanks for dropping by today.

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  16. Silent Night! Crystalwinter88(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. I think Silent Night would be at the top or very close to it in everyone's list, Karen. Thanks for stopping by today.

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  17. Silent Night
    May I wish all of you a terrific, God-blessed Christmas
    Chris
    granvilleATfrontiernetDOTnet

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    1. So good to see you here, Chris! We always end our candlelight service by singing Silent Night, a very moving experience. May you and your loved ones have a blessed Christmas, Chris.

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  18. I like Canon in D. (handbells, piano, etc.)
    susanlulu(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Oh Susan, Canon in D is such a moving number! Several years ago I came across a beautiful piano arrangement that blends Canon in D with The First Noel, and I play it during communion every year at our Christmas Eve program. So good to see you here, Susan!

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  19. I can remember exactly what I was doing the first time I heard Silver Bells. Each time I hear it I relive that memory. fishingjan[at]aol[dot]com

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    1. Isn't it funny how sometimes just hearing the first few bars of a song will trigger a cherished memory?! Glad you came by today, Jan.

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  20. I'll Be Home for Christmas...as a child I couldn't imagine someone not being with their family at Christmas. As I grew up, left home and had my own family, we had our share of Christmas' not at "home". It was then I learned that "home" is not the place, but with people you love and care for. cfernstaedt10[at]gmail[dot]com

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    1. How true those words are! Thank you for sharing with us.

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  21. I love Silent Night. My Dad taught me how to play it on the guitar when I was first learning how to play. Great Memories!

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    1. So you play guitar! I'm a pianist who tried the guitar for a little while, but couldn't get past the hurt fingers. There was also one frequently-used chord that I never quite managed either. Thanks for sharing with us today.

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  22. My email is ajcrouch8[at]gmail[dot]com

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  23. I love so many Christmas songs. It's hard to pick one, because I can listen to most of them over and over. One I never get tired of hearing is "I'll be home for Christmas."
    may_dayzee (AT) yahoo (DOT) com

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    1. Kay, I'm pretty adamant about not playing Christmas music until after Thanksgiving, yet there's never enough time to hear all my playlists as much as I'd like. Hard to pick one favorite song also, but I will say that my favorite group is the Mannheim Steamrollers.

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  24. I have two songs. Mary Did You Know and Beautiful Star of Bethlehem. I childlike to both of these songs 365 days without ever tiring . Thank you. God Bless. Merry Christmas. Lindafaullkner860@comcast.net

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    1. Linda, I'm so glad you mentioned Beautiful Star of Bethlehem because that's one of my very favorites too. I think I've got 2 or 3 tracks of it by different recording artists. Thanks for sharing with us, Linda.

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  25. Silent Night can never be outdone. Simple and beautiful. Will always love it. Sonja dot nishimoto at gmail dot com

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    1. Sonja, there's something about Silent Night that gets to most of us, I suspect. We always end our candlelight Christmas Eve service with it, so touching!

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  26. I think that Oh Holy Night is my favorite. Many fun memories connected with it, as well, but it would take pages to tell them all!

    connie.randel (at) gmail (dot) com

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    1. Good to see you here, Connie! That's a favorite of mine also - beautiful message, and I always get chills at those high ending notes.

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  27. Once Upon A Christmsas has always been one of my favourites.
    ygamble(at)bellaliant(dot)net

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    1. Good choice, Yolanda! Thank you for coming by.

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  28. There are two that I really like - although it is such a hard choice! There are so many wonderful ones that I've learned over the years...Oh Come Emmanuel and O Holy Night are the most powerful for me. Thank you for interview to win! jeaniedannheim (at) ymail (dot) com

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    1. Jeanie, both of those are so beautiful and meaningful! I accompanied a brass quartet on Oh Come Emmanuel during our Christmas Eve service, such a moving song. Thank you for sharing.

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  29. I love I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day by Casting Crowns. It has just a beautiful melody and words of hope.

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    1. Carols like I Heard the Bells have such a powerful message, Mary Ellen. I'm going to look up the Casting Crowns arrangement. Thanks so much for sharing.

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  30. O Holy Night
    no matter who is singing it

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    1. "No matter who is singing it" - You're so right, Loretta! Our pastor's wife always sang it when I was growing up, and although I must say that she didn't have the best of voices, it was still a beautiful and powerful song. Thanks for sharing with us.

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  31. My favorite Christmas carol is Silent Night.
    Myrtle1961(at)gmail (dot)com

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  32. How fun that you got to interview all three of them! This book looks great! Thanks for sharing it at Booknificent Thursday! Merry Christmas!
    Tina

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    1. It's so good to see you here, Tina! I wish more of these giveaways were open internationally for you. I enjoy connecting with you through your blog. Hope you and your family had a lovely Christmas, Tina.

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  33. Silent Night... Such a beautiful melody and calming words.

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  34. I love almost all Christmas music, but one that I am especially blessed by this year is Darius Rucker's " What God Wants for Christmas".

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  35. I like Little Jack Frost! It's so catchy. :)
    sportz79 at yahoo

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  36. I love Angels We Have Heard on High!

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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  37. I follow you on Pinterest.

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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    1. Thanks for connecting on Pinterest, Nancy. I'm sure I spend way too much time there, but it can sure be addictive!

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  38. I also like you on Facebook: Nancy D - - - - - - .

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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  39. I too like Mary Did You Know, but the Christmas Song that means a lot to me is
    Angels We Have Heard on High. I remember as a child hearing it and thinking that the angels must have sounded like that on the first Christmas. I know the Scripture doesn't say they sang, but how could they not.
    straitfromthehive(at0gmail(dot)com

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    1. How could they not indeed, Shirley! I appreciate you sharing those beautiful thoughts.

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  40. This may sound silly, but the Chipmunks Christmas album comes to mind. My husband loves it and we have a lot of fun listening to the songs. I found it on a CD for him years ago. It has become a tradition with our girls too. Laughter and fun while we decorate the house. Nancycooks4u(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. So glad you brought up the Chipmunks, Nancy! I had some of their records when I was growing up and absolutely loved them. My mom and I laughed so much. They were certainly unique!

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  41. I love O Holy Night. It's hauntingly beautiful. But it's range is too wide for me to sing!
    tlw131 [at] gmail [dot] com

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    1. It is indeed hauntingly beautiful, Terri. Are you a soloist? I'm always accompanying a soprano or tenor on the piano and just love the high ending.

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  42. Like so many others, I love Mary Did You Know? Yesterday we watched Son of God and at the end that song was played. So very moving. I picture Jesus on the cross, how he suffered and died for us. Mary knew it would happen but the pain was still there.

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    1. Sally, I'm often reminded how Jesus asked us to remember His death, not His birth, and Mary Did You Know just brings it all full circle, doesn't it? I can't imagine the extent of Mary's pain. Thank you for sharing.

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  43. I forgot my email, sorry! sallydav45 (at) gmail (dot) com

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  44. I love "Do You Hear What I Hear?", particularly when Andy Williams or Jack Jones sings it. Such a beautiful and uplifting song!

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    1. That's another one of my favorites, Bree. I've got a track that I love of Perry Como singing it. And I loved singing it in our college chorus. Thanks for sharing.

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  45. I love Oh Holy Night. So hauntingly beautiful. Of course, its wide range means I can't sing it!
    tlw131 [at] gmail [dot] com

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  46. O Holy Night is a song I have sung as a solo nearly every Christmas since I was teenager, so I'd say that is my favorite carol, but I love them all. E-mail me at frontiersoffaith@annaleeconti.com.

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  47. I heard the Bells on Christmas Day is my favorite Christmas carol, melancholy and then brimming with hope. It's hauntingly beautiful to me.
    sparklingangel[at]q[dot]com

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  48. Angels from the Realm of Glory.
    tinkerbell2by2@gmail.com

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  49. Jerusalem, A Child who was born there... Badawson16 at AOL (dot) com

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  50. I never tire of Silent Night. It calms me and also brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it. It has a special way of touching my soul.
    bunnysmip (AT) gmail (DOT) com

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