Tuesday, December 2, 2008

One of my favorite Christmas songs

This fun song is from one of my favorite songwriters Andrew Peterson. It's on his Christmas album Behold the Lamb which in my humble opinion is the best Christmas album ever. Called "Matthew's Begats" it's from the oft overlooked portion of the Christmas story, Matthew's genealogy of Jesus.

Here's a "classic" Thought-for-Thursday from the days prior to blogging in which I reference Andrew's CD. Enjoy the Thought for what it's worth.


Generally, I don’t like making music recommendations to folks. There’s something very vulnerable about encouraging a friend to go spend $15 bucks on something you like but they might not. But, hey, even preachers need to step out on a limb once in a while. So, if you’re feeling a little adventurous in your holiday CD collection this year, I encourage you to check out Andrew Peterson’s Behold the Lamb: The True Tall Tale of the Coming of Christ. It’s unlike anything you’ve ever heard. Alyson and I discovered Andrew back in our college days and have followed him ever since. Andrew’s sound is best described as folk-rock and his songs do include a great variety of folk instruments: the mandolin, the hammer dulcimer, the guitar. But it’s his songwriting that keeps me tuning in to his work. I’ve owned a copy of Behold the Lamb for a couple of years now and it has become my favorite Christmas album. You’ll hear none of your Christmas favorites here. Behold the Lamb is a sweeping, songwriting adventure that tells the whole broad salvation history narrative from Abraham to Christ’s birth. Every time I listen to it, I’m humbled by the magnificence of God’s glory and the wonder of his grace.

Whether or not you check out Andrew’s CD this Advent season, I hope you’ll remember to sing boldly the songs of our faith. Carolyn Winfrey Gillette, a pastor in Delaware, asks the question “When we come before God in worship, why do we sing rather than merely think or talk with one another?” I’ve used Carolyn’s question and answer in worship before, I think. But I’m a firm believer that good quotes should be used more than once – just like a good song should be sung more than once. Carolyn answers her own question, “We sing because music is a gift from God. It is a language that God has given us to express our deepest longings, our greatest joys, and our most profound trust in the One who created us and loves us unconditionally. Like all gifts from God it is one that God calls us to use with gratitude.”

Isn’t that true? When we need to express that which is inexpressible, when we need to capture the inner moving of our hearts, isn’t it a song that most often does the job? That’s why music, a gift from God, is so important in preparing our hearts and our homes during this advent season. A good Christmas song has the power to penetrate our defenses and then explode upon our souls the reality of God-With-Us. I challenge you this year to take some time with your family to listen to and sing some of our sacred songs together. Not only is singing together great fun, it’s also one of the very best way to communicate God’s love to our hearts.

Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. The LORD has made his salvation known and revealed his righteousness to the nations. He has remembered his love and his faithfulness to the house of Israel; all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God” Psalm 98:1-2.

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