Both Testaments at Christmastime
The holiday season is upon us, and for Andrew Peterson, that means hitting the road for his 12th annual Christmas tour. Since writing the music for Behold the Lamb of God a dozen years ago, and releasing an album of the same title in 2004, the folksy singer-songwriter has performed the popular Yuletide show hundreds of times throughout North America.
This year, Peterson will do 16 shows in 18 days, concluding, as always, with a concert at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium—a must-see event that has featured such guests as Alison Krauss, Phil Keaggy, Fernando Ortega, Buddy Miller, and Nickel Creek.
Behold the Lamb of God, one of the best Christmas albums in decades, tells the story of Christ's coming with 12 original songs—beginning with Old Testament prophecies and the Passover, all the way through "Matthew's Begats" and the title track.
In recent years, Peterson has also gained notice as a children's author. The second book in his Wingfeather Saga series, North! Or Be Eaten, won the 2010 Christy Award for Young Adult Fiction. The third, The Monster in the Hollows, released in May, and the fourth and final book, The Warden and the Wolf King, will release in late 2012.
Question & Answer
What inspired your Christmas album?
I took an Old Testament survey class in Bible college in the mid-'90s, and it was the first time I realized that the Old Testament was as much about Jesus as the New. It just lit up my imagination, which sparked this idea: What if we could convey that through a cycle of songs about the coming of Jesus into the world?
Did you have any idea that the Christmas tour would become so popular?
No, but we hoped it would. We also dreamed about doing it at the Ryman Auditorium. I wanted it to be a blessing to Nashville. When I'm with some of my best friends on that stage, and we're singing about this thing that unites us—the gospel—it gives me an intense emotional and spiritual high.
How did you get into writing children's books?
I've always wanted to write stories, but it wasn't until I read the Narnia books to my kids that I thought, I really have to stop talking about doing this; I have to try it. It all started one night in 2003 when I got out my sketchbooks from high school and drew a map of Aerwiar, the world where this story takes place. Then I started writing. Between that day and the day the book came out, it was about five years.
What are you doing better now than ever?
I value the people in my life more than ever. I've always had this fear that once people got to know me, they would leave. I don't know where that came from, but it means I really crave the friends I've had for a long time, because I actually believe that they know me and love me. To be known like that is one of the surest signs in my life that the grace of God is real. And I think that being in community with people like that makes me a better writer.
Church: Midtown Fellowship Presbyterian
Family: Jamie (wife); Aedan, 13, Asher, 12, Skye, 9 (children)
On your iPod: Bon Iver, Sara Groves, Ben Shive
Favorite movie: Braveheart
Your Bible verse: Numbers 6:24-26
Favorite website: Rabbitroom.com
Your hero: Rich Mullins
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Learn more about Andrew Peterson through his website.
Previous "Who's Next" sections featured Bobby Gruenewald, Julie Bell, DeVon Franklin, Shannon Sedgwick Davis, Jon Tyson, Jonathan Golden, Paul Louis Metzger, Amena Brown, David Cunningham, Timothy Dalrymple, John Sowers, Alissa Wilkinson, Jamie Tworkowski, Bryan Jennings, L. L. Barkat, Robert Gelinas, Nicole Baker Fulgham, and Gideon Strauss.