here in 2007, i am the pastor of a baptist church, but it has only been in the last 4 years that being a pastor has even been on my radar.
i grew up the son of a music minister. i sang in *every* church musical from the time i was in elementary school through college. i received my undergraduate degree in music (classical voice).
aside from all of that, i sang and played guitar in different settings in front of countless people over the course of 5 years, including a stint in the nasvhille area playing music "for a living" (a meager one!) i even opened for derek webb a couple of times in 2004. i have played in churches, in bars, on college campuses, coffee houses, and outdoor events and concert series galore.
i say all of that only to make the point that as much music as i have been exposed to (classical, instrumental, christian, and "music not sold in christian stores" music), andrew peterson's "behold the lamb of god" is by far one of the most amazing albums i have ever heard in my life and would be on my desert island list without hesitation. (a list including the beatles, nirvana, U2, r.e.m., andrew osenga and caedmons call among others...its a long list...)
it is not a collection of old christmas 'favorites", it is all original material written by andrew himself, including the best song you have never heard - "labor of love".
the theology is sharp, the music is heart wrenching, and the lyrics themselves are some of the best songwriting i have ever heard. and not just a few of the songs.. the whole album is a work of literary art.(appearing on the album with peterson are such artists as derek webb, sandra mccracken, andrew osenga, randall goodgame, jill phillips, among others)
every music loving believer needs this album. it will make you listen to "christmas music" all year long because you can't get enough of it.
you will listen to it throughout the year because your heart will become so attached to it, you will find yourself *needing* to hear it -much like i did shortly after my son was born and my back went out. i was exhausted emotionally and mentally, so i would put my ipod on and gain much comfort from this album as i fell asleep each night.
i have written about this album here before, and i "implore" you again , go to andrew peterson's website and buy this album. it has had a profound impact on my life and many others. so much in fact, that 3 out of the last 4 years i have made the trip to nashville for the "behold the lamb of god" concert at the ryman auditorium in nashville to meet up with friends from north carolina, alabama, south carolina, kentucky, georgia, missouri, pennsylvania, delaware, texas, mississippi, arkansas, and even *MORE* places just to experience this music in person.
(peterson does tour this show, you can see if it is coming close to you here, including a free show in memphis tn. at bellvue!)
just trust me, buy this album. it will profoundly affect (and effect) the way you view not just christmas, but "the author of the faith that could make the mountains move".