The Making of Redemption DAwns: The Beginning
by Anna Ferraro | September 15, 2018
Where are visions born? In exciting places? In dark places? In confusing places? In my case, the answer is, usually, all of the above.
2013 was a crazy year. A massive jaw and neck injury shattered the course of my post-college plans and leveled me for a good long while before I found a reasonable routine for life again. Of course, it all happened at the height of a national piano competition.
I remember Christmas of that year well - wrestling through the injury, crushed dreams, and now, here comes the holiday season. That year, if my family weren’t a more gracious sort, they probably could have called me a Scrooge. After all, when your jaw is basically stuck shut, and all you can do is drink fluids, pretty much, most of your communication sounds something like, “humbug,” even if you’re not intending that exact intonation.
On Christmas Day, I, the dutiful church pianist, took my place at the piano for the service. I couldn’t really talk, but I could still play a bit. As I glanced through the order of worship, my eye fell on the closing hymn, Silent Night. I groaned. Inwardly, my rotten attitude boiled over and I whined, did we have to end with the slowest Christmas Carol in the book?
Now, I’m not against the carol Silent Night, but that Christmas, everything seemed pretty bleak. Nevertheless, the service around me was closing, and gritting my teeth, and trying not to move my injured jaw, neck, and shoulders too much, I moved into playing position. The director raised his arms, and everyone turned their hymnals to Silent Night.
Together, the congregation stood to sing the timeless carol. I robotically moved through the first stanzas, my eyes watering from the jaw pain. Between stanzas, I breathed a prayer, “Lord, I don’t understand this year, this injury, or this Christmas. But You are still King, and Your gospel is glorious, no matter what the circumstances of my life are. I just ask, give me a glimpse of Your grace today.”
Scanning the page before I began the final stanza, my world suddenly froze.
“Radiance beamed from God‘s holy face with the dawn of redeeming grace...”
In that moment my Christmas changed. And in that moment Christmas for all time would never be the same. The glories of the gospel and God’s grace washed over my soul as a flood of thoughts filled my aching head. Christmas - the dawn of redeeming grace. Christmas - when God became Christ to reconcile the world unto Himself.
Christmas - it’s about the gospel, and the kingship of Christ.
Maybe the celebrations that year were not going to happen for me personally. Maybe all the confusing events of that year were never going to get resolved. I still had lots of questions, and I was still in a lot of pain, but heart had changed.
As I lifted my hands from the keys, I breathed a prayer, “Thank You, Lord, for redemption. Thank you for the cross. Thank You for Christmas.”
As the benediction commenced, and the church slowly emptied, I held my place at the piano for one quiet moment longer.
And I resolved, if this crazy injury every resolved, and if I ever had a chance to record an album, and if I could make it a Christmas album, I would use that opportunity to reignite the flames of true Christmas fire in the hearts of my listeners - to testify of the glorious hope of what Christmas is. That Christmas goes beyond the shepherds in the field, the angels in the sky and the starry nights, beyond the Babe in a manger, and beyond the cuteness of the celebrations we enjoy.
Christmas is about redemption, it’s about the gospel, and it’s about the glorious kingship of Christ.
That was 2013.
This year, five years later, that message came to life and that dream born in darkness was fulfilled.
Redemption Dawns, an inspiring collection of Christmas hymns is now available online wherever music is streamed and sold.