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256 || Andrew Peterson: The Responsibility of Advent

In or out?” Skye asked, peering up at her dad through sandy, brown hair and freckles. He glanced down at her jeans, one side tucked neatly into her cowboy boots and the other out. He raised his eyebrows, began to speak and stopped. Mouth still half open, eyebrows to the roof, he looked at me. “Well, what do you think?”

Deliberately I said, “In. Definitely in.” We all breathed a sigh of relief as she enthusiastically adjusted her jeans to reflect my advice.

“Thanks,” he said to me.

I giggled a bit, and Skye looked at me in approval. In that quick moment, I went from a representative of the press to just plain me. I suddenly knew that for the next 20 to 30 minutes I was welcomed, and I belonged. Some people just have a knack for making you feel like that.

Many Talents

On the outside, Andrew Peterson is a normal guy. He eats, drinks and breathes like you and me. He even handles fashion questions from his daughter with urgent attention and genuine care. He’s a loving dad, devoted husband, talented performer and obvious fellow sojourner in the crazy world we live in.

I had the pleasure of bombarding my way into his life one Thursday evening this past spring. After hearing that he was scheduled to perform at an adoption fundraiser in Shattered’s hometown, I immediately took to Google and weaseled my way into his busy schedule.

His email people, sound guys and media crew were a complete dream to work with, and I wanted everyone to be my BFF by the end of my time working with them. Good people keep good company; it’s true.

If you know anything about Peterson, you probably know that he is a multifaceted artist.

He is a musician. In his initial musical efforts, Peterson was indeed in the right place at the right time — the Internet! After touring a bit with his wife and friends, he was still without a recording contract.

In 1998, Christian media’s iconic rebel and founder of Noisetrade, Derek Webb, stumbled upon Peterson’s website and was indeed impressed. After being invited to open for Derek Webb’s then band, Caedmon’s Call, at an upcoming show, Peterson was invited to come along with them on tour.

He has since toured with many familiar names along his musical path. His band, The Captains Courageous, also includes talented fellows Andy Gullahorn and Ben Shive. Be sure to check these guys out!

He is a writer and author. Since 2007, Peterson has published several books. He is the founder of The Rabbit Room, an online group of writers, authors, songwriters, pastors and people who drink loads of coffee, read tons of books and talk about it all in a way so eloquent that it’s straight up fascinating. The Rabbit Room is a one-of-a-kind online outlet that fosters community and connection.

Talent Turned Responsibility

I know, I know. I’m really pounding this into you. Music. Books. Community. More! But really, the most fascinating thing about Peterson has nothing to do with him at all. It has to do with the sheer mention of his name around devoted followers of his Advent season tour entitled Behold the Lamb.

I first heard of Behold the Lamb when some church friends of mine made plans to see his show in Nashville, Tennessee, at the Ryman Auditorium. (Side note: If you’ve not been to the Ryman, do yourself a favor and go. No place like it.) My friends, who are typically normal, poised people, began acting like complete goons in a matter of moments after just mentioning the tour. I immediately knew that whoever this Peterson was, he must have been making the Kool-Aid they were drinking.

As I talked with Peterson about the comical effect his tour has had on my friends, I found a creative guru who takes his involvement in many people’s Advent season incredibly seriously.

“People plan for this. Look forward to it all year long. And we’re given an opportunity to show people the true meaning behind Christmas, the real reason we sing,” Peterson said. Honestly, it was unexpected and refreshing to hear his take on the fact that so many people carve precious time out of their schedules to ensure they get to a Behold the Lamb concert.

It’s both burden and opportunity. Just as being a Christ-follower brings responsibility, this tour brings a weight we cannot deny.
Andrew Peterson

I originally thought he’d say it was a bit of a burden to be positioned so pivotally in many Christmas season celebrations. I asked him about that. He replied, “It is. It’s both burden and opportunity. Just as being a Christ-follower brings responsibility, this tour brings a weight we cannot deny. People make time to join us with their families and friends. It’s a big deal for people. We make a commitment each season to steward this opportunity well.”

Andrew shared further how, at the start of last season’s tour, a trusted mentor of the group gave each of the Behold the Lamb tour members a brick to carry in their suitcases. On and off the bus. In their bags. Anywhere they went. He explained that it was to remind them of the sacrifice their own families had made and the responsibility they had towards the attenders of their shows. “We have a message to bring. This must not be vain,” Andrew affirmed.

So Worth It

The long nights, the endless hours on the bus, the bricks in their suitcases.

It is all worth it. Oh, how it’s worth it.

The Behold the Lamb tour assembles talents from near and far to celebrate the season of Jesus’ birth and the anticipation of His return. The show builds an anticipation and spirit of celebration within the crowd.

The music is lively and emotional; the message is steadfast and true. With lights, instruments and spoken words, this show takes a life form all its own as it rejoices the season in a way that can hardly be described.

It truly is a treat. Even more, it’s a powerful vessel to bring a message of hope to a hurting world at a time when many need it most.

It is clear that Andrew Petersen has been blessed with rich talent and effortless charisma that keep his longtime fans hooked. Every performance serves to deepen his understanding about why God gave him these gifts. He appreciates the magnitude of the responsibility, especially at this time of year.

With every literal or figurative brick he carries, he reminds himself of the weight of this calling. It is a calling we all share — to show people Christ in all we do, to be His witnesses in the love we extend to others and to celebrate the King who will come again. We all carry the same brick.

This is the responsibility of Advent.

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