Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb took a stroll through the memories of 2017 on “Today” for December 28. It was a momentous year for the girlfriends on and off camera, with Hoda having her lifelong dream of motherhood fulfilled in the beautiful adopted daughter, Haley Joy, and for Kathie Lee, celebrating a creative burst that has brought her back to song in every sense. It was a time of sweet reflection and reminiscing, and Kathie Lee shared a recent heartfelt compliment from stage and screen star Hugh Jackman that really took her by surprise and touched her heart.

Unexpected kindness

Hoda Kotb graciously introduced a clip of Kathie Lee's moving performance of “He Saw Jesus” from the “Today” stage back in October. Kathie Lee created the song in loving honor of her late husband, sportscaster and football great, Frank Gifford. The song eloquently portrays the quiet beauty of his Sunday morning passing in August of 2015.

Kathie Lee Gifford brought the opening of “a little kiss, a little coffee, a little moment to pray” to famed Nashville songwriter Brett James, after a conversation of just a few minutes about her desire to create a song to lift others in grief while remembering the love and life shared with her husband. Brett James brings his own deep perspectives on faith, having written “Jesus Take the Wheel,” which became an anthem of hope, and a monster hit, for Carrie Underwood.

No one knows how many hearts become changed when versus honestly crafted from the heart flow out across airwaves and digital radio these days. Just this week, there are messages on Kathie Lee Gifford's Twitter feed reminding her that her recent Christmas collaboration with James, “Jesus Is His Name,” is wonderful music therapy for insomnia at any time, far beyond the holiday season.

As it happens, a very famous friend heard Kathie Lee singing “He Saw Jesus” on that October morning, too, and his life was transformed for the good.

Kathie Lee spent time with “The Greatest Showman” star, Hugh Jackman, and his wife of 22 years, Deborra-Lee, two weeks ago, and was taken aback by her good friend’s words about her tribute in the verse.

Hugh Jackman took her aside and told her he was watching her perform the song that morning, and was “stopped in my tracks by the depth, the beauty, and the power” of her heartfelt song. Kathie Lee was clearly moved just to think that the man who is bombarded by demands from agents, producers, and managers made time for those minutes of singing. They clearly made a difference.

Jackman and Deborra-Lee have lived out their own true-life love story, and definitely shared life’s trials along the way, including a recurrent battle with basal cell carcinoma with Hugh and the heartbreak of two miscarriages before adopting their beautiful son and daughter. Gifford and the Jackman’s share a deep commitment to faith.

Right timing

Initially, Kathie Lee Gifford intended only to sing as a demo fill-in for the songs, but at the insistence of Brett James, she recorded this tracks, after not singing on recordings in almost 10 years. Her performances of “He Saw Jesus” and “Jesus Is His Name” on “Today” are her first since 2008.

Kathie Lee marveled at having iTunes hits after 50 years, teasing that the success can only be proof of God's sense of humor. Both songs have soared to number one, and Gifford had an audience that the president did not for her performance at the National Tree Lighting ceremony.

Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford can both attest to the truth that life's most marvelous blessings can come in senior years. Decades of living and loving create fertile ground for finding new purpose in life. As Hoda stressed, everything meant to be “comes right on time.”