Andrew Peterson took the Biblical story telling part of Rich Mullins legacy and has ran with it to great aplomb. Peterson is a crafted songwriter in the traditional sense and has been able to weave Biblical story to song as no one else perhaps in his generation. His Christmas album started as a live extravaganza with friends like Derek Webb, Sandra McCracken, Jill Phillips, Ben Shive, Andrew Osenga and Randall Goodgame. The collective continue to tour this suite of songs every December; you can even buy the video.
It is a carefully constructed story of the incarnation from thousands of years before the birth to reaching beyond the manger though crosses are not mentioned just yet! If you minted the CD onto vinyl there are two sides. Side One is the Old Testament looking ahead to the Deliverer’s arrival, culminating in a haunting and musically intricate instrumental of the Carol O Come O Come Emmanuel. That beautifully describes the yearning among God’s people for this big arrival.
Side Two is then the New Testament story beginning courageously with Matthew’s Begats; and yes he succeeds. The nativity is spelled out and in no better song than Labour Of Love which smashes the cosy view of Christmas and focuses on a teenage girl, away from her mother, in a outdoor space giving birth with only a carpenter to help. It is a staggering story so often lost underneath tea towels on children’s heads that we have confined this incredible theology to.
Peterson has created an authentic record of the season. Where many of our carols get it very wrong, check the temperature in Bethlehem and bleak and mid-winter it will not be, Peterson gives us an opportunity to sneak a look at the real Christmas scene. Essential part of the Uploads/Downloads!
For the Paul Leader Christmas Playlist:
Labour Of Love