Carrie Underwood’s brilliance

The Sound of Music is on my personal Top Ten list. I have watched that movie so many times that I can sing most of the songs word-for-word. I know which song is coming before the first note…and I know quite of few of the lines as well.

I, along with 18.5 million others, watched Carrie Underwood’s live performance on NBC. There were several times I thought, “that wasn’t in the movie” or “I’ve never heard that song before.” But, it wasn’t a movie, it was a live stage performance. It was supposed to be different, and it was. Carrie Underwood sang her heart out for three hours! I thought it was wonderful, and the next morning I was surprised to hear the news.

The headlines were, “‘Idol, Meet the Trapps: The Perils of Tinkering With Favorite Things” and “How Do You Solve A Problem Like Carrie Underwood.” One of the great-grandsons of the real Maria Von Trapp was quoted as saying the family was disappointed with NBC’s decision to do the live performance. They suggested Anne Hathaway would have been a better choice for the role of Maria.

I titled this blog post “Carrie Underwood’s brilliance” for a reason. She sang her heart out for three hours, live. Was her performance as perfect as Julie Andrews in the movie? Of course not – it was a live performance. No one could do a retake or decide to edit anything. Real life isn’t perfect, it is real. I wonder if Julie Andrews had done a live performance, would there have been these criticisms about Carrie?

The main reason I think Carrie Underwood did a brilliant performance is just as much about her actions before and after the television show. This is the tweet Carrie sent out right before her live performance, “This is what I’m going to do tonight. ‘Sing out your thanks to him; sing praises to our God.’ (Psalm 147:7a TLB).”

Her goal that night wasn’t to be perfect, it was to sing for the One who is perfect. When she was confronted after her performance with criticisms and comparisons she tweeted, “Plain and simple: Mean people need Jesus. They will be in my prayers tonight… 1 Peter 2:1-25.” I liked Carrie Underwood before, but now she has really impressed me. I thought her performance as Maria Von Trapp was wonderful. I think her Christian witness to the world was even better.

I love that NBC wanted to air a Christmas program that gave the wonderful story to a new generation. There are so many strong messages about family, music, the Lord and about personal convictions in the story of the Von Trapp family. It is odd that people compared Carrie Underwood’s performance to the movie. Very few people realize that the Julie Andrew’s movie does not represent the true story of the Von Trapp family. There are a lot of differences between the Hollywood movie and the truth.

There has never been a perfect performance of the Von Trapp family, including their own. They were a great family who, because of their convictions, fled the Nazi takeover in their country. They didn’t walk over a mountain in the dark of night, they took a train to Italy to do a performance and chose not to return. Maria was not Julie Andrews and was not the same person depicted in the movie. The Von Trapp children were very disappointed that the movie portrayed their father as it did. He was never that stern man who banned music from the home. In fact, he was quite the opposite. It was Maria who, in real life, had problems with her temper.

There is a greater lesson that comes out of The Sound of Music, or any performance. Real life is not what we want others to think or see. Real life is flawed and imperfect. People like to criticize and condemn but the smart thing to do is respond like Carrie Underwood did. Pray that your actions glorify the Lord and then offer grace when people don’t treat you as they should.

One of my favorite passages is Titus 2:7-8. It is a word for “real” Christians who live in the real world and want to maintain a strong witness. The verses: “In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show them integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you many be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.

Carrie was right, mean people need Jesus. You and I are privileged.  We have been given the opportunity to share the Christ child with the world. Who will you offer Jesus to this week?

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