When it comes to songwriting, Keith and Kristyn Getty’s goal is straightforward: They want to help the next generation of believers internalize the Scriptures and love Jesus on a deeper level. And Christmas, they believe, is the perfect time to remind the world of the joy and hope found in Christ through song.
“I think the encouragement that we constantly want to give families in America and this age when the Christian faith and the Christian family is under attack is, let's stop being negative and defeatist or cynical,” Keith Getty told The Christian Post. “Let’s fill our own lives and our family's lives up with the joy of the Lord and the truth of the Gospel, and there's no better season to start that than at Christmas.”
The Irish husband and wife duo are on their nationwide "Sing! An Irish Christmas" tour, performing 19 shows in 15 cities across the U.S. The event features new songs from the Gettys along with their band of virtuoso Irish and American musicians, cultural Irish dancing, caroling with the audience, a full choir and special guest artists.
“We don't do Rudolph and Santa; it’s the great hymns of Christmas,” Getty said. “But in the Irish tradition, they're just a ton of fun. So the first half of the show is always like an Irish party, and the second half of the show is a lesson carol service, where we read through the [Christmas] story. To get to do it with our band and all their virtuosity and fun is just fantastic.”
The show, which celebrates the hymns of Christmas, will take place at notable venues, including New York City’s Carnegie Hall on Dec. 15 (an event recommended by the New York Times), Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center (Dec. 23), and three nights in Washington, D.C., (Dec. 17-19) at the Museum of the Bible, a place that shares the Getty’s vision of making the Bible come alive for the next century.
EXCLUSIVE: CP readers can use code EPIC30 for 30% off tickets until Dec. 19
Last year, over 100 countries watched the live stream of their Christmas tour. This year, the Gettys hope to bring that number to 250.
“We want to touch people knowing that many, many are coming with different emotions this year,” Getty said. “This Christmas, there are lots of Christians who are delighted to sing God's praises, but there's also a lot of Christians here feeling very fearful, feeling very downcast. feeling desperate.”
Known for hymns including “In Christ Alone” and “Christ Our Hope in Life and Death,” the Gettys are today’s most prolific hymn writers. It’s estimated that more than 100 million people around the globe sing their hymns every year. Their recent album, Confessio - Irish American Roots, is nominated for a 2023 Grammy Award as Best Roots Gospel Album.
“We've never even entered for the Grammys before because we're just so focused on church music,” Getty said, adding that his team decided to put the album forward on a whim.
“It’s funny, but we're against Willie Nelson, so we’re not going to win,” he added with a chuckle.
The parents of four young children — all of whom participate in their Christmas concerts — the Gettys are passionate about discipling the next generation of believers through song. They recently established the Getty Music Foundation, an organization that aims to foster Christ-centered singing in underresourced parts of the world.
“If you want to catechize, if you want people to carry something to their deathbed, if you want to understand something, it's better to sing it than to teach it because teaching it requires such a level of memory that human beings aren't even capable of. Whereas, if they're singing something, they're saying it to themselves, they internalize it for the rest of their lives,” Getty said.
“If I was to give you 50 Bible verses, I'm willing to bet that 40 of them you would know because you sang them.”
The Getty Music team is also developing the Sing Hymnal, which is slated to be released in 2025 in partnership with Crossway. The project, Getty said, intends to help people understand the big picture of the God of the Bible — “not just the God that loves our praises or just the God that’s loving in kind of a generic way.”
“The Psalms, and the great hymns of history … tell us about the wonder of God," he said. "And they tell us about the glory of God and the wonder of the Christian story, and this Gospel story that we have in Christ. And then after that, our emotions play a part in it. So we tell the story ... [not] in a clunky kind of way, we tell it in a beautiful way. And then naturally, our human emotions respond.”
“The emphasis is on God, the emphasis is on the story,” he added. “Our response is secondary, but it’s real, and it’s fantastic.”
Looking to the future, Getty said he and his wife, along with their organization, hope to continue to encourage “biblically-writ singing” around the world through creative initiatives, writing, partnerships and tours.
“To be honest, it’s hard work; you get up every day, you go again, and you just keep writing," the songwriter said. "Most of the songs you write aren't very good, but you keep trying and every so often one turns out that isn't as bad as the rest.”
For the full list of "Sing! An Irish Christmas" tour dates and locations, click here.
Leah M. Klett is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org