All this week we at Christ and Pop Culture will unveil our 25 favorite things from the year. It’s an extremely eclectic list, comprised of 25 people, works of art, or events that we felt most exhibited God’s Grace and truth. The list represents the perspective of our writers, an incredibly talented and diverse collection of men and women who love finding reflections of God’s beauty in popular culture.

I love year-end lists the most. Too often, entire years can feel dominated by junk, especially for cultural writers and consumers. Most people indulge themselves in the easy stuff that caters to our basest or most exploitable instincts. Reaching the end of the year often inspires the uncomfortable realization that we’ve spent hours, even days, being entertained and distracted by the dumb or unedifying. It just happens. That’s what it is to be human. We live in a world of dross.

But we also live in a world characterized by amazing grace, full of opportunities for awe and wonder, empathy and human engagement. Popular culture has a tendency to disappoint and enrage us, but it also contains a shocking amount of beauty and goodness, often in the most surprising of places. That’s part of what Christ and Pop Culture is about, and that’s what this list is all about.

We won’t be the first or the last to offer you a highly detailed list of things you shouldn’t miss from the past year. Though many deride lists as link-bait, lists offer the reader a clear and ordered perspective on often abstract and messy subjects. They help us to understand, appreciate, and internalize a subject so that we can move forward with a new understanding.

Part of our reason for stretching our list out over the next week (five entries a day, every day this week) is that we wanted to give each entry time to breath, and we wanted to make a solid case for every one of these things. These are the things we love. We hope that our list will intrigue you, surprise you, and help you to appreciate the goodness in some of the things you may have taken for granted or written off.

Get started with #25: From Up on Poppy Hill