Exile and Captivity

I recall last year putting a copy of Andrew Peterson‘s Behold the Lamb cd into a car stereo for a family member who loves Christmas music to hear. After two or three songs, she said, “I thought you told me this was Christmas music.”

“It is,” I replied. “It just starts by telling you the story up until the birth of Christ.” And indeed it does. It tells the story from Moses to Jesus, with the chilling song Deliver Us to bring the weight of the Exile and 400 years of divine silence onto our hearts before we hear the good news that a Savior is born.

I think it is unfortunate that we start our Advent season with songs like “Joy to the World” and “Away in a Manger.” It is the deep darkness of the days leading up to Christmas morning that makes Bethlehem’s star truly shine bright. As the previous post mentioned, a key theme of advent is exile. Without a real experience of our own exile from God’s pleasure and captivity to sin, we miss the real joy of Christmas morning, that a Savior is born.

The painful cry of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” paves the way for “O Come All Ye Faithful.” In Andrew Peterson’s Christmas musical, Derek Webb’s mournful vocals on “Deliver Us” paves the way for the swelling joy of “Behold the Lamb.”

In two weeks, I’ll be travelling with family down to the Ryman in Nashville to see Andrew Peterson’s Christmas Concert. It will be a soul-nourishing time to walk through Exile, Captivity, and Salvation with the musicians and audience. I’ll give a full report when I return.

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~ by Travis on November 28, 2005.

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