Who says one Christmas special is enough? Dinner Conversations ho-ho-hosts Mark Lowry and Andrew Greer trim the tree once again with more seasonal songs and funnies featuring singer-songwriter Marc Martel, platinum-selling vocal group Point of Grace, speaker extraordinaire Patsy Clairmont and a special appearance by Mark’s always-popular dad.


Mark: Well, we had so much fun on our first Christmas special, the Dinner Conversations Christmas Spectacular part one, that we thought we would do Dinner Conversations Christmas —that’s hard to say. Say that ten times. Dinner Conversations Spectacular part two, and with these new teeth, it’s especially hard.

Andrew: Yes, and sans the coat.

Mark: Yeah, I got rid of the Christmas coat.

Andrew: So we’re gonna have lots of Christmas music coming up and some conversations and a special little surprise with your—

Mark: Well, Point of Grace is gonna be here. We’ll get to that. Point of Grace, Marc Martel

Andrew: Patsy Clairmont

Mark: Yeah, and then my father tells a very special Christmas story, and it is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen in my life. So that’s all coming up, but let’s start off—

Andrew: With our good friends Point of Grace with “Joy to the World.”

Point of Grace singing “Joy to the World”

Joy, joy
Joy, joy
Joy to the world, the Lord is come
Let earth receive her King
Let every heart prepare Him room
And heaven and nature sing
Heaven and nature sing
Heaven and heaven and nature sing 

Joy to the world, the Savior reigns
Let men their songs employ
While fields and floods
Rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat, repeat the sounding joy 

Joy, joy
Joy, joy
Joy, joy 

He rules the world with truth and grace
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness
And wonders of His love
And wonders of His love
And wonders, wonders of His love 

Joy, joy
Joy, joy
Joy, joy
Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah


Mark Lowry’s Dad reading the Christmas stor

Mark: A few Christmases ago, my brother brought out his video camera. He’s one of those people who’s always got a video camera going. You know what? I’m glad he does because we’ve got some incredible family footage. And my dad had received some email from some friend of his, and it was a Christmas story. And he started trying to read it to us, and he got so tickled. It is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. I hope you enjoy it.

Man: Daddy’s gonna read a Christmas story.

Charles Lowry: This was sent to me by a friend. It says, “Subject: Merry Christmas, a little story to start your Christmas season in the right spirit” When four of Santa’s elves got sick, the trainee elves did not produce toys as fast as the regular ones, and Santa began to feel the pre-Christmas pressure. Then, Mrs. Claus told Santa her mother was coming to visit, which stressed Santa even more. When he went to harness the reindeer, he found that three of them were about to give birth and two others had jumped the fence and were out heaven knows where. Then, when he began to load the sleigh, one of the floorboards cracked. The toy bag fell to the ground, and all the toys were scattered. Frustrated, Santa went in the house for a glass of cider and a shot of rum. When he went to the cupboard, he discovered the elves had drunk all the cider and hidden the rum. In his frustration, he accidentally dropped the cider jug, and it broke into hundreds of little glass shards all over the kitchen floor. He went to get the broom and found that the mice had eaten all the straw off the end of it. Just then, the doorbell rang, and an irritated Santa marched to the door, yanked it open, and there stood a little angel with a great big Christmas tree. The angel said very cheerfully, “Merry Christmas, Santa! Isn’t this…a lovely day? I have a beautiful Christmas tree for you. Where would you like to stick it? And so began the tradition of the little angel atop the Christmas tree. A lot of people don’t know why the angel’s eyes are open so wide or her mouth is the shape of an “o.” Ho ho ho

Mark: That’s a funny video, isn’t it?

Andrew: I love that your dad cracks him up. I love the family dynamic in there. Is that your niece or?

Mark: That was my niece Katelyn sitting there and my sister, you hear her. And it was funny cuz when my dad started cracking up, I could hear my sister trying to say, “Oh, daddy,’ like trying to stop him. And I’m going, “Oh please, don’t stop this. Please.”

Andrew: It was perfect.

Mark: I kinda call her down a little bit. I felt bad about it, but I did not want her to stop him because I knew this was gonna be something I would cherish. But yeah, our family’s got a lot of wonderful dynamic in it.

Andrew: And I love how laughter is a part of the dynamic of the holiday and of the Christmas season. And it is true for some people in our communities, in our neighborhoods, sometimes even in our families, Christmas is not the easiest time of year. It can be a real sad time for some people because of who they’ve lost, who they’re missing at Christmastime, and so I wrote a song a couple years ago specifically for people. I think it’s interesting that we celebrate Christmas in kind of the midnight of our calendar. The darkest part of the year is actually when we celebrate Christmas from an environmental standpoint, and I think that’s partially what makes the light of Christmas so poignant.

Andrew Greer singing “My Troubles”

Choirs singing in the snow
Joy to the world, the Lord is coming
Choirs singing in the snow
My troubles 

Repeat the sounding joy
Tenors singing loud and altos singing heavy
Repeat the sounding joy
My troubles 

Ringing through the night
Bells and drums with joy and might
Ringing through the night
My troubles 

Far as the curse is found
They say he’s digging for diamonds in the rubble
Far as the curse is found
My troubles 

Sing the songs and ring the bells
Father, can you hear us?
Like the steeple, we’re here on earth
Pointing to the heavens 

Men their songs employ
Shining like the star that the wise men followed
And men, their songs
They quiet my troubles

No more let sorrows grow
Hold the child and here him crying
No more let sorrows grow
He knows my troubles 

Sing the songs and ring the bells
Father, can you hear us?
Like the steeple, we’re here on earth
Pointing to the heavens

Project Beautiful Sponsorship Message

Mark: Dinner Conversations is sponsored by Project Beautiful.

Andrew: There’s a great quote from Dale Evans that says, “Christmas, my child, is love in action.” And we think this is one of the most perfect ways this Christmas season that you can put your love into action.

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Patsy Clairmont reading from John 1 (The Voice Bible translation)

Patsy Clairmont: During this holy holiday season, there is nothing that adds a greater sense of music to our life than the Scripture. The translation that I’ll be reading from is The Voice. Lean in, listen, and allow your heart to rejoice with what you hear. “Before time itself was measured,

‘The Voice was speaking. The Voice was and is God. This celestial Word remained ever present with the Creator. His speech shaped the entire cosmos. Immersed in the practice of creating, all things that exist were birthed in Him. His breath filled all things with a living, breathing light — a light that thrives in the depths of darkness. It cannot and it will not be quenched…

‘The Voice took on flesh and became human and chose to live alongside us. We have seen Him, enveloped in undeniable splendor — the one true Son of the Father — evidenced in the perfect balance of grace and truth.

‘God, unseen until now, is revealed in the Voice, God’s only Son, straight from the Father’s heart.

John 1 The Voice, verses 1-5, 14 & 18

Mark: Don’t you love the way Patsy Clairmont reads the Scriptures?

Andrew: I do. I love the way that she articulates life in general. She has been one of the most poignant people in my life, the way that she expresses herself.

Mark: And I’ve just recently gotten to know her. You’ve known her a long time.

Andrew: I have. And the way that she articulates that scripture specifically, John 1, about—

Mark: God coming to us—

Andrew: Literally in—

Mark: Compressed and compacted into that 8-pound bundle was the fullness of the Godhead.

Andrew: And then that balance of grace and truth. That’s the part of that passage that gets me every time because I feel like we are constantly erring on one side of the other, but He’s that perfect balance of grace and truth.

Mark: And Marc Martel is a new artist that I’m not familiar with, but you introduced me to him.

Andrew: Yeah, Marc Martel was part of a band called Downhere, Dove-nominated band. Then, the original members of Queen discovered that he sounded just like Queen’s frontman Freddie Mercury, and so now, he’s the frontman of this huge Queen extravaganza revival.

Mark: Who’s Freddie Mercury? While he was listening to Queen, I was listening to the singing Rambos.

Andrew: Well, we didn’t grow up in the same era.

Mark: But Marc Martel is evidently a friend of yours?

Andrew: Yeah. Actually, no. I’ve just met Marc recently. I’ve been a big fan of Marc’s music for a long time. We were thrilled to be able to have him on the show.

Mark: Well, here’s Marc Martel.

A Christmas Conversation with Andrew Greer and Marc Martel

Andrew: I wanted to go back to you as a pastor’s kid, and so I’m sure many Christmases were spent within the local church. Is there a certain sanctuary you find at this time of the year because of what that, you know, represented to you?

Marc: Yeah, I do. And I do count myself as very fortunate to grow up in a tradition where Christmas was a very positive thing. Family, gifts, the birth of our Savior — all that good stuff. But I can’t help but remember so many people I’ve met in my life that just don’t have that experience of Christmas. They’ve, you know, either maybe they’ve lost someone or they didn’t grow up in a good family. Like you say, there’s a lot of strife in the world, and that carries on in Christmas. You can’t turn that off, which is totally fine because Jesus came into a very broken world, which is still very broken, and He’s doing that work still.

Andrew: The humanity of God, the willingness of God to be human — to me, it’s like, okay, if this Great Designer, this Great Creator was willing to provide sanctuary, then that’s my example to also provide sanctuary for others.

Marc: Absolutely. I love that Christmas is that reminder that we have every year to remember why we live the way we live, you know. And I love that you can make it as meaningful as you want. People who only believe that there’s nothing but the physical and when you die you die and that’s it, Christmas can still be a very meaningful thing where you refocus your life, you think about your family a little more than usual, you listen to jazz a little more than usual. But for us believers, it’s just a wonderful time to just get ready. It’s a beautiful time to refocus, and the fact that it happens at the end of the year, you know, how is this gonna carry into 2018? I love Christmas.

Marc Martel singing “What Child is This?

What child is this, who, laid to rest
On Mary’s lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthem sweet
While shepherds watch are keeping? 

Why lies He in such mean estate,
Where ox and donkey are feeding?
Good Christians, fear, for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading
The silent Word is pleading 

This, this is Christ, the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing,
Haste, haste to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary

So bring Him incense, gold, and myrrh,
Come, peasant, King to own Him
The King of kings salvation brings,
Let loving hearts enthrone Him
Let loving hearts enthrone Him

This, this is Christ, the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing,
Haste, haste to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary 

Raise, raise a song on high,
The virgin sings her lullaby
Joy, joy for Christ is born,
The Babe, the Son

This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing
Raise, haste to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary

Andrew Greer reading “Worry into Worship”

Andrew: Though the Christmas story happened thousands of years ago, it remains relatable in our lives today. This is an essay I wrote incorporating some of the Christmas story from Luke 2. It’s called “Worry into Worship.”

Worry Into Worship

“We all wrestle with fear. We all get scared. Sure, some of us are less skittish than others, but being afraid of cancer, of the government, of the weather, of our finances, of each other has gradually become our cultural norm. We wear anxiety as a badge of honor, as if the unmanageability of our mind and emotions is some sort of status symbol. Maybe we have glorified fear because, quite frankly, we are scared to death of it. This is one of the reasons I am drawn into music. In the rhythm of a verse and crescendo of a chorus, generously moves our hearts beyond the angst of daily living towards the contentment of eternal life. The strains of song speak or sing out our doubts until our souls harmonize with faith. Music changes the most nervous of Nellies into people of peace. “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.” I’m not sure how “sore” translates, but it sounds to me like the spotlighted shepherds were so filled with fear that it physically hurt. I get that, don’t you? I have been stunned by panic before, so confused with worry that the task of getting dressed and leaving home felt like some sort of monumental achievement, as if with even the most basic aspirations to being a full-functioning, responsible adult, I was failing. “And the angel said unto them, “Fear not.” I have a hunch that these celestial creatures didn’t merely speak this quelling chorus into the atmosphere; they probably sung it, and in the current of a heavenly melody, the apprehension building inside of the shepherds’ hearts was transformed from a quivering anxiety into a glorious anticipation. Under the cover of night came a great light, and worry was turned into worship. From fear, faith was born. “For, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” He is here. God is present with us. We no longer have to be afraid.


Mark Lowry singing “It Came Upon A Midnight Clear”

It came upon a midnight clear
That glorious song of old
From angels bending near the earth
To touch their harps of gold
Peace on the earth, goodwill to men
From heavens all gracious King
The world in solemn stillness lay
To hear the angels sing 

O ye beneath life’s crushing load
Whose forms are bending low
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow
Look now, for glad and golden hours
Come swiftly on the wing
So rest beside the weary road
And hear the angels sing 

Mark: Merry Christmas, everybody.

Mark: And now, it’s time for Christmas quotes. This is something Andrew came up with because he likes really sentimental, deep—

Andrew: I do. I like really thoughtful articulations.

Mark: Yeah, so I looked up a few of my own, but you do yours first.

Andrew: Okay. This is one of my favorite Christmas quotes ever probably. “Christmas waves a magic wand over the world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.” That’s Norman Vincent Peale.

Mark: Oh, that is nice. Well, Victor Borge who says, “Santa Claus has the right idea — visit people only once a year.”

Season One title sponsor, Project Beautiful … a passionate community committed to saving lives from the terrors of human trafficking. Learn more about how you can partner with Mark, Andrew and Project Beautiful to help bring innocent lives home by visiting:

Project Beautiful: https://www.projectbeautiful.org/dinnerconversations

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