Behold the Lamb of God

 

 

Last year around this time I listed some of my favourite Christmas carols.  This year I’ll be talking about music again- an entire album in fact.  It’s not a new album, but I’ve only discovered it this year.  This blog’s main purpose is to share stories, not music, but I had to write my thoughts on Andrew Peterson’s Behold the Lamb of God.   This is a story being sung, and one worth sharing.

 

Gather ‘Round Ye Children, Come sets the stage, inviting the audience to listen.  It also introduces and exalts the ‘story’s’ main character.

Passover Us takes us back to the early days of Israel, and introduces the sacrifice of the lamb.  This not only gives important backstory, but echoes a timeless plea for mercy.

So the years went by and the people they whined and they wandered

And only sacrifice atoned for the sins of the land

So you see the priest he placed upon the holy altar

The body of a spotless lamb

So Long Moses is the song that introduced me to the album, and is one of my favourites. The authorities of old, being mortal men, die- and sometimes fail.  But the yearning for a leader remains.  We also hear from the prophets who tell of a future and wonderful King.

We want a king on a throne

Full of power, with a sword in his fist

Will there ever be, ever be a king like this?

Deliver Us pleads for rescue, not from earthly powers, but from sin.  Connecting to Passover Us and So Long Moses, Deliver Us laments that not even sacrifices can save the people, and they long for something to lean on.

Then there is a sudden break in the narrative, as an instrumental of O Come O Come Emmanuel plays, providing an intermission while re-enforcing the theme of the last song.

Matthew Begats is a fun one.  Surely I’m not the only one who enjoys the lineages in the bible?  Aside from being entertaining, this song gives a good picture of the time that had passed, and highlights that this is not just a story, but history.

Followed by Manasseh who had Amon

Who was a man

Who was father of a good boy named Josiah

Who grandfathered Jehoiachin

Who caused the Babylonian captivity

Because he was a liar

It Came to Pass starts the second stage of the story, referencing the opening of Luke chapter 2.  It is a short song, and only gets as far as Joseph and Mary traveling to Bethlehem, but it is a good way to prepare for the climax.

But it came to pass that in a dream an angel of the Lord

Said, “Joseph, don’t you be afraid to marry Mary for

The little baby in her womb it is the Holy Spirit’s work

You may have read the prophet said a virgin would give birth

Labour of Love is one of, if not the, most touching songs of the album.  It shows a nativity much harsher than silent night or away in the manger, but also one much more beautiful.  This song is one of praise and paradox.  It honours the nobility of the servant-like hearts of Mary and Joseph, and it marvels that the little newborn could also be God.

The Holly and the Ivy serves as another intermission before the third and final act. This instrumental seems a touch out of place, transporting us from 1st century Israel to 18th century England.  But it just goes to show how this marvelous story has spread out across land and time.

While Shepherds Watched Their Sheep is a song of rejoicing.  The promise given in Deliver Us has been fulfilled!

Hallelujah, Hallelujah Hallelujah,

Christ is born

Hallelujah, Hallelujah Hallelujah,

Christ is born

Behold the Lamb of God is also a song of rejoicing and praise.  It hearkens back to the pain, sin, and longing sung of in So Long Moses and Deliver Us.  But this time there is an answer: Behold, the Lamb of God!

Behold, the Lamb of God

Who takes away our sin

Behold the Lamb of God

The life and light of men

Behold the Lamb of God

Who died and rose again

Behold the Lamb of God who comes

To take away our sin

The Theme of My Song wraps it up beautifully, first with overlapped singing of the previous songs, and then a reprise of Gather ‘Round Ye Children Come.  It brings things home, and full circle.

 

When looking at the cover of this unique album, I read: ‘Behold The Lamb of God’, and underneath that: ‘The True Tall Tale of the Coming of Christ’.  That is why I’m talking about this collection of songs today.  When put together they form a sweeping three act epic.  Andrew Peterson tells one of the world’s most incredible stories, at times stepping back to look at the big picture of history, other times peering into the confines of a small-town manger, or looking even closer into the heart.  There are times when the tone is light- even comedic- but overall there is a sense of reverence, awe, and gratitude.

It’s a magnificent way to tell a magnificent story.

Merry Christmas

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10 thoughts on “Behold the Lamb of God

  1. Oh my goodness, I’ve never heard this one, but I feel like I must do so now! Andrew Peterson has always been one of those background artists for me, one I’ve heard of but rarely seek out. This album sounds right up my alley, though. Thanks for introducing it to me!

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  2. This sounds like the perfect album to listen to over Christmas–and I’ll do just that! I haven’t listened to many of Andrew Peterson’s songs… I first heard Dancing in the Minefields a long time ago (without knowing who he was), and then a couple years ago, blogger Mirriam Neal introduced me to Be Kind to Yourself, which is one of my favorites. ^_^

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