Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Best Christmas Music You're NOT Listening To...

In the beginning of December last year, Leah and I went to Andrew Peterson's Behold the Lamb of God concert.  Aaron was supposed to come with me, but Gracie had just broken her leg, and we didn't feel comfortable leaving her with a sitter at that point. 

To say that the concert was amazing would be a gross understatement.  

I have the Behold the Lamb of God CD, which I like, but hearing it live was...simply put...incredible.

I feel like one of those people when I say, "You have to hear it live!  It's just so much better!"

But, really, you have to hear it live, because it's SO much better!

The album tells the story of Jesus birth and plan of redemption, starting in the Old Testament.  There aren't very many stand alone songs, in my opinion, and to get the picture you really need to listen to the whole album straight through. 

AP always does this tour with Jill Phillips and Andy Gullahorn (they're married to each other) and some other musicians.

Sally Lloyd-Jones of The Jesus Storybook Bible sometimes tours with them, too, which is a huge indicator of awesome-ness in my book!

Anyway, I picked up the Christmas CD by Jill Phillips and Andy Gullahorn (cleverly titled "Christmas") when we were there.

And that, my friends, is the best Christmas music that I'm guessing you're not listening to.  

There are several Christmas songs on the album that we all know and love and then there's the best song.  

I'll wait while you listen to this youtube video.  For some reason I couldn't get it to load on here.

Are you back?

I realize that it isn't the most traditional Christmas song ever, but I love the story behind it...which I didn't understand at first.  Then I read this article which helped me understand that the song is based on a story.  The song kind of weaves between talking about the wounded woman in the story and Mary, the mother of Jesus.  Isn't it achingly beautiful?

This is my favorite part:  
Every sin that she suffered at the hands of men
Every single disgrace will be washed clean again
I will love her completely and when I am grown
I will carry her out of that tenement room
I am doing a new thing and soon you will see
I am coming among you and my name shall be
Emmanuel, Emmanuel

I haven't been sinned against in any traumatic way, for which I am extremely grateful.  But, I know people have have been sinned against...real life experiences that make me want to throw up and weep and never let my daughters out of my sight.  

And, what I love about Jesus is that He washes us clean.  

He loves us completely.

He makes things new.

Jesus is Emmanuel...God with us.

For the last few years, Jesus being Emmanuel has been so meaningful to me.  I even was telling my Sunday School kids about it this week.  God didn't have to set it up the way He did.  He could have just zapped Jesus down as a grown up, had Him die on the cross, and then resurrect after 3 days.  Boom.  Done.

But, instead, Jesus had an earthly mom and dad and brothers and sisters.  He worked a job, had a boss, had friends, and, in all likelihood lost His earthly dad (we never read anything about Joseph during Jesus' ministry, so we can reasonably infer that he died).  

I love that Jesus did the things I did, so He knows what it's like to be me.  He was sad, misunderstood, betrayed.  He can intercede for us and the complexity of our lives, because He lived an incredibly complex life.

Jesus can make anything new.  From the situations that are the most dramatic to the most simple...He redeems.

We listen to this CD a lot in the car, and now Leah sings "I Will Find A Way" along with me.  She asked me what the song was about last week, and it was interesting trying to describe what "sinned against" means to an innocent little girl.  I mostly focused on Jesus making things new, plus I fake coughed to cover up some crying, as the song literally moves me to tear every time I hear it.

...especially when I'm driving Leah to school on a hectic morning.  It could be argued that I'm tired :)

If I had a million dollars, I would buy you all this CD/download of this album.  But, alas, we'll have to settle with listening to things on youtube :)

Oh, and while we're on the topic of Christmas songs, you know how "Away in a Manger" is, well, kind of lame, but it's so stinking adorable when a bunch of little kids sing it?  A friend of mine posted this on facebook the other day, and I thought it was excellent.  

So, now when I hear my little ladies singing "Away in the Manger" at church on Friday night, I'll think about how Jesus was willing to give up everything to begin His earthly life by laying in a stinky, rough, non glamorous manger because He knew how desperately we need to be rescued.  

That makes for a very Merry Christmas indeed!

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