Behold the Lamb of God

Behold the LambI planned to try to write some profound review of Andrew Peterson’s Behold the Lamb of God and the live performance of the album that I had the pleasure to take in with my wife, brother, sister-in-law, and their baby boy last weekend (12/11) in Nashville. I can’t muster the necessary words, it seems. But just tonight I checked the Andrew Peterson forum, a place I’ve belonged to for a few years (though I contribute very rarely now because of all my blogging), and I found a summary of the Christmas tour posted by Andrew himself that beautifully sums up how desperately we need the Christmas story. I quote it below. And let me highly recommend this cd and/or dvd. It is a beautiful and creative retelling of the Advent and Christmas stories. Here’s Andrew:

It’s exactly 3 am and I’m sitting in my living room in Nashville. The family is asleep and the only sound is of the furnace whooshing to life, preparing the way for the central heat to turn on a few seconds later. I can see the lights on an eastern red cedar that my wife harvested and placed in a stand on our back deck. She scattered birdseed around the base and girded it with red and gold ribbon, and though I’m not sure the birds have yet found it, when they do they’ll be a joy to watch.

The tour bus just pulled in a few minutes ago to the Food Lion parking lot adjacent to the infamous La Hacienda, our rendezvous point for the tour. We wasted little time vacating the bus, clearing out our bunks, emptying the bays of the many guitars and tubs of CDs and luggage, the bittersweet ritual that punctuates the end of tour. We’re all going home to our families, and in the back of our minds we’re all keenly conscious of the fact that this peculiar fellowship of artists and comrades will probably never be together this way again. We all spoke about the possibility (and the hope) that we’d all manage to travel again next December, but the chances of all our careers, our schedules, our lives aligning again are slim. We embraced and expressed our love for one another in a way that is only possible within the Kingdom and kinship of Christ, and I got in my big silver van and drove home, but not without singing the Doxology a few times, attempting to express my thanks to my King for the great gift of these last few weeks.

I unloaded the van into my garage, careful to make sure the door was closed (in an effort to dissuade any would-be thieves from stealing any more of my instruments), and I stepped into my warm house. I put my junk on the table, tip-toed into the bedroom and kissed Jamie on the cheek. I found a note from her on the kitchen counter that says, “Congrats! You made it through the 2005 crazy year. Hope you had a fun night with the gang. I love you and I’m proud of you.? After I read the note I went in and kissed her again on the cheek and said that I wished we had a sheep to sacrifice. This confused her, sleepy as she was. You know in the Old Testament, when God did some mighty thing, David or whoever would build an altar and sacrifice to the Lord as an expression of praise and gratitude. I was wondering what I could sacrifice to show Him how thankful I am that He gave me the gift of those dear friends to travel with and tell His story for the last 18 days–not only the friends to travel with but fine hosts at the churches we visited as well as large, gracious audiences to play for. Honestly, I’m not sure this tour could’ve been more sweet-spirited than it was.

And to top it all off, I come home to my wife, my encourager, and a passel of kids who’ll tackle me first thing in the morning. Why, O Lord, are you so good to me? I hope that you’ll think long and hard this Christmas about His goodness and mercy, and that the holidays will be full of peace. I know this time of year will be really hard for some folks, and I say even to you, think long and hard about His goodness and mercy. None of us is worthy. He loves us not because we are loveable, but because He is love. I heard that somewhere, I think. It sounds too good for me to have made it up.

Night after night we played our songs, and night after night I was assailed by light and love, a fearsome quickening that demanded my attention and laid me low. Whenever I sang “Behold, the sin of man,? I felt like I was singing about myself in all my neediness and shame. I thought about the thousand thousand sins I’ve committed and loves I’ve withheld, the wrongs I’ve wrought and reveled in, and the scarce obedience I’ve managed. Even the obedience and love in my history has been tainted by its lack of secrecy, my penchant for casually pointing out the good that I’ve done. And there I stood, every night, awash in a fresh and stinging realization of just how badly I need for this story to be true, because if it’s not, I’m done for. Then comes the answer to that line about sin: “Behold the lamb of God, who takes away our sin.? Glory, hallelujah. Please, please don’t forget how staggering that truth is, how earth-shattering that twist in the tale is. He has taken my sin upon himself and it is no more. That’s what made this tour so precious to me: every night I had the honor of standing on a stage with sons and daughters of the High King, those whom He created and equipped for the very thing they were doing, which was setting their gifts aflame on cairns of music. We declared His righteousness and mercy to all who would listen, and we were listening, too.

May the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob rattle your bones with His mighty roar, comfort you with His holy song, and break your heart with His deep, deep love.

Merry Christmas.

~ Andrew Peterson

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~ by Travis on December 20, 2005.

One Response to “Behold the Lamb of God”

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