Holiday Message from Michael Shirtz
Happy Holidays Everyone!
What a year it has been! It’s hard to believe that Christmas is already upon us and the holidays many of us celebrate during this month are soon coming to a close with the start of a new year. It was great to be back performing music again and sharing that joy with our audiences. I found myself pretty emotional each time I sang "Count Your Blessings" this season knowing that for nearly two years we didn't have this opportunity to perform for people. We can't wait to be back presenting our shows and concerts again soon.
This Christmas I am reflecting on the poem by Howard Thurman called, “The Work of Christmas Begins.” It was reintroduced to me earlier this year and I found it as a great source of centering. The text is simple, yet so profound for the times we are living in today.
When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins: To find the lost, To heal the broken, To feed the hungry, To release the prisoner, To rebuild the nations, To bring peace among others, To make music in the heart.
While there seems to be so much negative in the world, I would challenge us to simply focus on the positives. It’s easy to feel the stress of the holidays, isn’t it? The shopping, the gatherings, the close of year-end budgets, travel plans, the millions of things to do before guests arrive, and of course the extra attention to our health and safety bringing added concern. That's a lot to handle for anyone. But perhaps we can just put those anxieties aside to focus on all that is good this season.
Let’s leave work at work and be present in the moment of ‘home’ with those we are around. Turn off the news and listen to great music instead. Give people a little more patience and wish them a 'seasons greeting' and 'Happy New Year' with a smile for the holidays. Put aside politics and differences and embrace all the good things we have in common. Put down the video game and pick up a board game to share with friends. Gather around with family to watch your favorite movie or the many holiday TV marathons with all those joyful stories. Reach out and text those who you haven’t talked to in a while. Let’s make this holiday a season about doing the work of Christmas while remembering our blessings and joys to celebrate with much love and gratitude. If we really focus on it...maybe, just maybe we will carry the work of Christmas into the New Year and beyond.
Last year Pamela and I recorded “Merry Christmas Darling” and “Grown Up Christmas List.” We thought the message of both tunes were so appropriate for what we were living through at that time. However, it seems even more appropriate this year. We hope as you enter into Christmas Eve and Day celebrations, you are able to take a moment to listen, reflect, and enjoy this musical gift from us to you.
On behalf of my wife Pamela, musicians, and production team we want to wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
May the work of Christmas bless you through all of your days. Stay safe, stay healthy.
Michael Shirtz - piano & vocals
Pamela Shirtz - vocals
Tim Claughbaugh - recording engineer
Todd Nielsen - recording assistance