Everyone loves Dolly Parton.
What is not to love about this woman who personifies country music, grit, grace, and being your authentic self?
Dolly’s authenticity was apparent on stage during her NBC Christmas special that was uniquely Dolly and Christ-centered.
Michael Foust of Crosswalk reports, “Dolly Parton’s Mountain Magic Christmas (TV-PG) debuted on NBC, telling a fictional story of Parton and her friends preparing to put on a network television special.”
“Parton, in a news release, called it a ‘show within a show.’ It included appearances by Zach Williams, Jimmy Fallon, Willie Nelson, Billy Ray Cyrus, Jimmie Allen and Miley Cyrus. The fictional comical story takes place at her real-life theme park, Dollywood, in Pigeon Forge, Tenn.”
It was on the eclectic side and one reviewer called the special “‘completely bananas,’ as Parton often talks directly to the television audience,” but added that “it also includes plenty of faith material.”
The lively set included very direct lyrics, “‘Take your wars and your politics, your lust, and your greed, and go to hell in a hand basket, ’cause heaven waits for me,’ she sang.”
In the middle of the number, she delivered a mini-sermon.
“My brothers and my sisters: I’m here to tell you that Satan is real. He is real and walking around amongst us, trying to destroy everything that’s good and beautiful,” she said. “He wants to break our hearts and minds, destroy our dreams and plans. He wants to tear us up in little pieces, break us down and send us straight to hell.”
“And Parton wasn’t done there. She said her God “can do anything,” including healing the sick, mending hearts, and bringing souls to heaven.”
In an interview with Jen Herrera on NBC 6 South Florida posted to YouTube, Dolly shared her hopes that the special delivers “hopefully a really good message with a lot of good music.”
She reminisced about growing up poor in a large family so her best Christmas gift ever was the birth of her brother, Randy.
She and her sisters had been hoping for a doll that cried and wet. When Randy arrived, their mama pointed out that now what the girls had was even better!
Dolly made clear in her special that it’s not just the devil who is real. Dolly had no problem proclaiming Jesus.
“Parton shouts, ‘Jesus Christ is born!’ and the crowd responds, ‘Hallelujah! He is born!’ She sings, ‘He’s alive, and I’m forgiven / Heaven’s gates are open wide!’ Parton and Zach Williams team up for There Was Jesus.”
“In the final minutes, she tells the audience, ‘God is good, and God is love.’”
Whatever reviewers have to say about her special, one thing is clear: Dolly knows the reason for the season and she’s not ashamed to stand up for Jesus.