Posted by: Billy Marsh | December 4, 2007

Christmas Music Recommendations: Behold the Lamb of God

Behold the Lamb of God - Andrew Peterson

Andrew Peterson is the type of songwriter who has a gift for story-telling. Throughout my musical journey, the storytellers have always been my places of refuge. The ability to tell a story in a song is a special gift. One must not rest upon only his ability as a lyricist, but also as a composer and a communicator. The songwriter/storyteller must have a mind for writing a memorable script, an inspiriting soundtrack/score which captures the spirit of the account, and the ability to act out the story in a real and convincing manner. Peterson incorporates all of these characteristics in superb fashion, and when he is at his peak, his songs feel like a good book that you just don’t want to end.

Peterson’s Christmas album, Behold the Lamb of God, is a unique contribution in a sea of constant rehashings of familiar material that has, in some cases for me, lost their warmth and intimacy. However, the only remnants of traditional songs from the holiday season are the two bluegrass-fused instrumentals: “O Come O Come Emmanuel” and “The Holly and the Ivy”. Both of these are enjoyable anecdotes to the record and come at appropriate breaks in the song list. However, Peterson’s Christmas album stands out above the rest insofar as he is attempting to tell the tale of the long-awaited coming Christ.

Peterson writes in the liner notes:

It gives me great pleasure to be able to present the fruit of labor of many, many people who have contributed to this album for the love of the Great Story, what C. S. Lewis called the “true myth,” the Story that is bigger than life, but is, astoundingly, true. It is my best and most heartfelt hope that by listening to this telling of the Story you will come to lose yourself for the Author, the only one worth serving, loving, and living for. Merry Christmas.

The album begins with a song that functions as the common speech of a storyteller waving his arms to everyone to come and hear the old, old story called, “Gather ‘Round Ye Children Come”. The set then follows through some OT wanderings and amplifying the messianic hope which was fufilled in the Incarnation.

Peterson doesn’t leave out the kids either. He picks up after a haunting rendition of a song called “Deliver Us”, sung by Derek Webb, with a fast, tongue-twisting original song recounting the Gospel of Matthew’s opening geneaology titled, “Matthew’s Begats”. And so the story continues . . . The highlight of the album for Kim and I both is the song “Labor of Love”, passionately and intimately performed by Jill Phillips, who has one of the most beautiful female voices that I have ever heard.

I commend this record to you all. It can be used and listened to in many different ways whether for background music, driving music, or for a family devotional time in rememberance of the Christmas story, or rather message/meaning. Either way, you cannot help but “lose yourself” in Peterson’s poetic ability and skilled-musicianship as you follow the story of Christ and the Incarnation. The album ends with an anthemic version of the song “Behold the Lamb of God” where you are forced to reflect on what you’ve heard so far and worship the holy baby who was born in manger, and was the Son of God, the Lamb of God, who came to take away the sin of the world (John 1:29).

An Unlikely Royal Family Tree/Andrew Peterson

Right now, I believe that Peterson is running a sale on Behold the Lamb of God which is available in both CD and downloadable formats. In addition, Peterson has published a children’s book based off of the song, “Matthew’s Begats“. There is also a combo deal which includes the CD and the children’s book. And finally, Peterson has also produced a live DVD of the Behold the Lamb of God concert held at the Ryman Audotorium. I have linked all of the merchandise to Peterson’s other website called, “The Rabbit Room“(click here for my article on “The Rabbit Room”). Because he and the other musicians are termed “independent artists”, when you buy from this site, you are directly supporting and financing their respective ministries and enabling them to continue to produce creative endeavors without the constraints of impersonal-corporate oversight which often chokes the life out of good music and musicians.


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