For the second year in a row, my wife and I went to see Andrew Peterson and his amazing group of friends at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville Tennessee. Seeing Peterson perform “Behold the Lamb of God” is a Christmas tradition for us now.
For those unfamiliar with Andrew Peterson and his Christmas show, here are a few basics: Every year, Andrew Peterson presents his “Behold the Lamb of God” tour. Every year, he invites old friends and new to perform with him. Every year, the lineup is a bit different, with new special guests and quite a few reoccurring players. “Behold the Lamb of God” is Peterson’s Christmas album, first released over ten years ago. It’s a concept album, working through the entire record of Scripture to tell the story of redemption. It’s ambitious and beautiful. I highly recommend it if you can find a copy. The show is divided in “half.” I use the word “half” loosely as the first half is a good deal longer than the second. The first half is Andrew and his guests performing some of their own material. So each year, the first half will look and sound different from every other year. No matter. It’s great music masterfully played and sung by immensely talented singers and songwriters. The second half is when Andrew and his friends perform the entirety of the “Behold the Lamb of God” album–no breaks, no talking, no interruptions–from beginning to end. It is amazing.
For those familiar with Andrew Peterson and his Christmas show–you know. You know what it’s like. You know how it feels. You know the sights and sounds, the light and peace, the mystery and the passion. If you have been fortunate enough to experience the show for yourself, you know. It’s much more than a concert. It’s a profound and powerful time of worship. The gifted artists, with Peterson at the helm, guide us through God’s grand story of salvation. With words and melody, they walk us through the Gospel story. My meager words cannot do it justice. In fact, I am too far gone to really give you any objectivity. I love the first half of the show. Both years it has included amazing artists doing what they do best. And I love the second half, hearing the biblical narrative of grace interwoven in the Old and New Testaments. But from the moment “Labor of Love” is played, until the final “amen” is sung by the audience, I am a mess. I lack the words and the skill to say why exactly. My best guess is that the words and music and truth speak so clearly in those final songs. They speak directly to my heart, mind, and soul. I fear building it up too much, but I don’t think I could oversell it if I tried. Whatever you do, if nothing prevents you, go to this show at least once in your life. You will be better for it.