What can we learn from Mary, the mother of Christ, that can help us understand what is happening in Ferguson?

What happens to a pastor’s understanding of Christmas when he finds himself and his family exhausted in a foreign country where there are no spare beds to be found?

Those are just two of the subjects that surprised me at the Kindlings Muse Christmas show.

It was a privilege to sit at a table with the new Kindlings host, Dr. Jeff Keuss of Seattle Pacific University, and his special guests — Reverend Richard Dahlstrom of Seattle’s Bethany Presbyterian Church, SPU’s Dr. Brian Bantum, the new Kindlings producer Anna Miller, and musician Eric Miller — for a conversation about Christmas, calling, and carols.

I’ve lost track of just how many Kindlings Muse panels I’ve enjoyed, but in my opinion, this rates up among the most surprising and rewarding conversations we’ve had there.

Rev. Dahlstrom spoke about how the experience of crisis during recent travels transformed his understanding in a way that has enriched his understanding of Christmas. Dr. Bantum talks about the eruption of violence and protests in Ferguson, and how the Christmas story can bring some specific insight to the troubles there. Anna Miller shares her own first experiences participating in those protests here in Seattle. I get the chance to talk about the Christmas playlist project I’ve been publishing here, finding surprising correlations between that and the other topics at hand. And then, there’s a sing-along, which you’re invited to join.

Listen to The Kindlings Muse Christmas show here, or one of our past Christmas shows from the archive: Christmas 2013, Christmas 2012, Christmas 2011.