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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

You're Listening to the Wrong Christmas Music...

So, several years ago, I had heard a song on the local Christian radio station called "Nothing to Say" by a fellow named Andrew Peterson.  I liked it. A lot.  So, as we often did back then, I ordered the CD it was on.  I also liked that a lot.  So I ordered a few for Christmas and gave one to my sister #3, who we now call Aunt Kiki around here.  Anyway, she also liked it a lot.

Ok, to be truthful, we were sorta obsessed.  

See, we are English/words/grammar/phrasing people.  We love the way you can put words together and create amazing pictures.  And since I am also a vocal music person, I loved the way Andrew's smooth, lyrical style of singing went perfectly with the way he crafted words together into stories.  Kiki and I would email (not text- again, this was the dark ages, people) lyrics to each other through the day.  So for Kiki's birthday in March of 2008, I made her a certificate promising her tickets to an upcoming live Andrew Peterson concert.  

Kiki and me back in the day (ok, she looks just the same)
Unfortunately (or so it seemed at the time), the spring concert I wanted to take her to did not work out for her schedule.  The next one listed on his website was in December, about 3 hours away from us.  So I bought the tickets as soon as they came available and put it on the calendar.  When I got the tickets in the mail, I was disappointed because it said, "Behold the Lamb of God tour, with Andrew Peterson and friends."  I thought I had mistakenly bought some sort of Christmas Pageant tickets where maybe they'd play Andrew Peterson songs or something.  But anyway, when the time rolled around, we trekked up to Nebraska in the dead of winter, ate at Valentino's (yum) and drove to a church to see whatever this was going to be.



Kiki pointing out our favorite Valentino's in Omaha

You know that feeling when you suddenly realize you are in the middle of something totally amazing, and you didn't even plan it?  That happened to me that night. I was instantly glad we hadn't been able to go in the spring because I doubt we would've tried so hard to get to this concert. 

The Behold the Lamb of God tour involves Andrew Peterson asking some of his closest friends, who also happen to be amazing musicians, to join him on stage.  The concert is in two parts.  The first part is called The Round and each musician takes turns sharing some of their personal music.  This is how I first heard of Andy Gullahorn, Jill Phillips, Andrew Osenga and Ben Shive.  These Nashville-based musicians brought so much heart to what they were doing, and I felt so privileged to "meet" them.  I've since tried to keep up with everything these guys put out, and they are awesome.  Checkout  their music (and other really cool stuff) here. And actually, Jill and Andy (who are husband and wife) have a beautiful Christmas album themselves.  (And to be truthful again, if my voice could sound like anyone's in the world, it would be Jill's.  Love her.  As someone else once said, she could sing the phone book and I'd listen to it). 
The whole group starting the Behold the Lamb part of the show


When the second half started, the actual "Behold the Lamb of God" part, I really thought I was going to just burst.  It was amazing.  Behold the Lamb of God is set up as a sequence of songs that tells the story, beginning in the Old Testament, of the coming of Christ. There are many people on stage, and all kinds of instruments.  They all work together to create this sort of sermon in song. It is full of imagery, and it invites you into the magic of the Christmas story in a way I'd never heard before in song.  Words are failing me even now as I try to explain it to you.  It is simultaneously simple, complex, funny, sincere, deep and sweet.  

Suffice it to say, we were totally in shock and awe of the amazing honor we felt to have "discovered" this group of people, this musical work, and really the new way we could experience the Christmas story.  


So like dorks, we stuck around after the show to meet Andrew and a few of the other guys. Andrew was totally gracious and kind as we fumbled through trying to tell him how we ended up at the show and how much we loved it.  We even met him again a year or so later at a different venue, and he at least pretended to sorta remember us.  He's a super nice guy, really.  
Us with our new friend, Andrew

Here's the point of this long story.  For us, it isn't Christmastime until we've either attended a Behold the Lamb of God show (they do them every year in a variety of places), or pulled the album out and given it several listens.  (one more confession- we listen to it year round, really, but we do text each other lyrics when Christmas rolls around).  It sets up our hearts for the season. 

You have to get this album.  I'm serious. I would never steer you wrong.  Please go and  buy it if you don't have it, and support these people who are some of the good guys, making truly good music from their hearts and making our world a more beautiful place.  (how many times in this post have I said beautiful? See, I'm not as good with words as I claim).  If the Behold the Lamb tour comes near you, go.  For the last several years, either new babies have kept us from going, or the tour just didn't come close enough.  But you can bet we'll be there as often as we can.  

Here's a link to one of the songs to get you started. But seriously, buy it. Then you can come back here and tell others about it.  I cannot say enough how much it will enrich your season.

One last funny story.  My kids have gotten so used to listening to Andrew Peterson in the car that once, I got a new Burlap to Cashmere CD (also very good), and my two boys argued back and forth that it HAD to be Andrew Peterson.  Because usually the "good" music was him or his friends.  They always knew if I just had the radio on or whatever, because it wasn't good.  I can't wait to take them to a concert soon! 

Have a great Christmas season.

***ONE MORE IMPORTANT THING! The title of this blog is a total rip-off of a song I heard Andy Gullahorn do at one of the Behold the Lamb shows I attended during The Round.  It's called "Someone to You."  Listen to it here and then buy it here. ****

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