Yesterday, November 29, marked the season of Advent, the Christian holiday in which one anticipates the coming of the Messiah. Because it looks forward to Jesus Christ’s final coming to deliver the world and raise the dead, Advent calls for a time of lament, grief, prophecy, and hope. Because Advent is able to remember the time leading up to the first appearance of the Messiah, it is also a season of memory, promise, and joy.
For Christian tradition, the Christmas season does not begin until December 25. Accordingly, my absolute favorite album for December is Behold the Lamb of God by Andrew Peterson. Most of the songs on the album are Advent songs, recalling the (broken) covenants of the Old Testament, and how they converge in two insignificant Jews named Mary and Joseph, and ultimately in an impoverished little boy named Jesus. The whole album is bookended with a wonderful chorus based out of Philippians 2:
Sing out with joy for the brave little boy
Who was God, but He made Himself nothing
Well, He gave up His pride and He came here to die like a man
God is brave! – when men are cowards. God is humble! – when men have spurned the covenant with their pride. The mystery of God’s incarnation in this man Jesus Christ blows apart every category, including what it means to act “like a man.”