Episode #291 — Our great friend Hannah Kerr returns to On the Road fresh off the release of the Deluxe Edition of her treasured album Christmas Eve in Bethlehem. Her storehouse of beautiful Christmas offerings increases with five new tracks – including a strikingly relevant collaboration with Cochran & Co. called “Here to Stay”. We dig into that journey in the full podcast below, but we couldn’t help asking first about one of the songs that started it all.

At the heart of the original album is “Emmanuel”. It’s chorus reads like this:

“Emmanuel, A manger for a bed

No crown upon His head

He came like us instead

Emmanuel, He meets you where you are

He holds your heavy heart

Our God is with us all

Emanuel, Emanuel”

That beautifully written track offers some of the most life-changing truth in history, but is still so approachable. How did Hannah and her co-writers pull that off?!

“I had really great co-writers! I wrote this song with Andy Gullahorn & Jill Phillips Gullahorn – they’re husband and wife. I was so excited to get to write with them, because I knew the idea I had was going to be something they could help me say.”

“When I wrote this song in 2018 I really was fascinated with the idea of how Jesus came to earth. Just thinking of how He could have chosen any way to come to us. He could have literally just descended from the clouds. He could’ve come as a king or as a priest, or anything He wanted to be. But He chose to come as a baby, just like we do. There’s such a humility, vulnerability, approachability, and there is such a beauty in the way Jesus chose to come to us.”

The message on Hannah’s heart found its way onto the page that day.

“And I was just sharing that with Andy & Jill, and Andy was like, ‘Ok – what if we had a chorus something like this?’ And he just used the things I was saying to craft this beautiful four line chorus that just knocked me off my feet. Every time I sing that song I get emotional.”

“That song has always stuck out to me on the album as something I need to hear every single year. God truly understands us and knows us because He’s been in our shoes. Literally. He has been on Earth as a human. Fully God and fully man. He just understands us, and I think that is really what is meant by ‘Emmanuel’. He is fully God and fully man, and He understands us in every sense of the word.”


Hannah Kerr is the recording artist behind hits like “Split the Sea” and “Warrior”. Her much-beloved Christmas archive grows with the just-released Deluxe Edition of Christmas Eve in Bethlehem, featuring five brand new tracks. 

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On the Road with Hannah Kerr

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