Posted by: Billy Marsh | December 11, 2007

Christmas Music Recommendations: The Promise

The Promise - Michael Card

The final addition to my Christmas music recommendations this season is Michael Card’s, The Promise. This album is a little older than the others (1991), but Card set the standard for conceptual Christmas records. Similar to Peterson’s approach to his Christmas album, Behold the Lamb, Card desires to retell the story of Christ’s birth by recounting OT prophecies and their fulfillments in the NT.

The title of the CD best describes the essence of every song. Card seeks to show that Christ’s coming was extensively foretold in the form of a promise. So, different songs deal with different facets of the promised messiah. For instance, in “Unto Us A Son Is Given,” Card looks at Isaiah 9. While, in “Joseph’s Song,” he portrays Joseph’s struggle with understanding that he was going to be the father of the Son of God, yet, he rested upon God’s promise. However, probably my favorite piece out of the whole song list is the more upbeat, “We Will Find Him,” a piece written on behalf of the Wise men.

The record ends with one of Card’s signature songs, “Immanuel“. It functions as a powerful and poetic end to a beautiful and creative retelling of the Lord’s birth. There’s nothing extravagant about this album. Card keeps it simple and quiet. There are some choral aspects to it as well which prevents it from fitting comfortably within the contemporary music scene during Christmas. The arrangements and choice of instruments gives it a very reverent and sacred tone. However, I would suggest that if you wanted to find a CD which would help add more depth to your family’s Christmas music repertoire, then Card’s contribution would fit nicely. He also has written a book by the same title which serves as a companion study to the record. So, between the book and the CD, listening to the music and reading through the book could become a new tradition in your household this Christmas.

Also, click here to visit Dr. Jim Hamilton’s blog, a professor for SWBTS at the Houston Campus. He has demonstrated a likemindedness with me concerning the immense value and quality of Peterson’s Behold the Lamb album. Dr. Hamilton describes it as a “biblical theology in verse”, and I have to agree. I cannot say enough at how well Peterson crafted the entire record in terms of indepth theologial and biblical content as well as fine-tuned musicianship and melodies. It’s a “must have” for the Christmas season.

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