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The Blind Boys set for annual Christmas show at Musical Instrument Museum / Phoenix New Times

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It has been some eight-plus decades since a young Jimmy Carter (not the president) first experienced the wonder of waking up and finding a basket of fruit and a new toy at the foot of his bed on Christmas morning. A Birmingham, Alabama, native, Carter relishes those memories, but more so, he holds on to what Christmas has always meant most to him. "Christmas to Jimmy Carter means it's the day the Savior came to save the world," the young-at-heart octogenarian says without hesitation. "I love the Christmas spirit, but I still believe in the original meaning of Christmas." What makes Christmas unique for Carter, 87, is that he has sung about it pretty much his entire life as one of the original founding members of the legendary gospel group, the Blind Boys of Alabama.   The Blind Boys are performing their annual Christmas show on December 23 and 24 at Musical Instrument Museum.

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