DYSWIS...A Personal Persective! (Christmas Series Pt. 1)

Alrighty! I LOVE me some Christmas music. Classics like Bing Crosby, Burl Ives, Rosemary Clooney, Nat King Cole, Dean Martin, etc… I love traditional albums like those done by Jaci Velasquez, Martina McBride, Linda Eder, and Bebe Winans. I also love less traditional albums like SheDaisy, MercyMe, SC2, Smitty, and now…drum roll please…Todd Agnew!!!!

I truly feel that “Do You See What I See?” by Todd Agnew and Friends is probably the best album release of the year. It is one of those you find yourself pulling back out when you really need to listen to some Crosby or Mrs. McBride but can’t seem to help yourself. IT IS GREAT!!!!! It is basically what I would call a piece of art! Yep, I said it, piece of art.

Each song tells a different perspective of the Christmas Story. This personal telling allows you to get into the lives, hearts, and minds of all those that were impacted on that first Christmas. It reminds us, as Todd himself has pointed out, that these individuals were living this. They didn’t have some 2,000 years of reflection on the matter. They were in the midst of it, and at certain points all they could do was hold on and see what God was going to do next.

I want to now take you on a little journey through each song if you don’t mind…

Prelude: “Do you hear what I hear?”
This is one of my favorite Christmas songs period. It is so beautiful and is a great opener to this profound album. Todd of course has to throw his own spin on things and discuss the grandeur of the journey from on high. What must it have looked like to all of Heaven as they watched this magical night unfold?

The Innkeeper: “No room”
This is a song that really breaks my heart. It talks about why the Innkeeper turned Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus away. You know though, this wasn’t the first Inn that Joseph went to. There were many others he traveled to and all of them closed him out as well. I think however of this particular Innkeeper…as Todd says probably warn out from managing a full inn and dealing with family issues, he is here late and he is tired and weary and he needs hope. When Joseph knocks on the door I can just feel the tension in his neck as he sighs and slowly comes to silence that which has disturbed his peace. In the end he was so close to taking eternal life into him, but he turns them away and has them sleep in the barn. Why?...because he was to busy…to overwhelmed with what had to be done. Does that sound like anyone you know?

Joseph: “This is all I have to give”
What an amazing man you know? My sister Meredith said that “The Nativity” movie really brings to light his role. I’m very excited about that. I first heard this song sung by Todd on K-Love. I almost couldn’t breathe. I was sitting on my den couch and the song literally moved me to the floor. I can’t imagine what Joseph went through. He finds out that Mary is pregnant…and he decides that he will divorce her quietly so that he won’t bring shame upon her. He has to be shredded. His whole idea of life has been turned upside down. Then an angel comes and tells him that it is God’s son. Can you imagine? You are now the step-Dad to the Son of God. How do you do that? Todd’s song captures it beautifully…I’d always thought about how I’d teach you to build your first chair/ and how to treat your mom, your lovely mom/ How to explain the reckless love of God to your simple mind/ But what can I offer you, my Son,/When You’re the living breathing proof/ Of everything I hoped could possible be true…Chorus: This is all I have to give/ You can share my home and bear my name/ But this is not how you should live/ But the Son of God has become the Son of man/ And this is all I have to give…(Written by Todd Agnew, c2006 Ardent)

Mary: “Magnificat”
Basically, Todd does what he does best. He takes scripture and scripts a song. It is breathtaking and Christy Nockels from Watermark does and amazing job. Mary has always astounded me. I fight with God tooth and nail. I can’t even imagine if He came to me and said, “Ok, Melissa I’ve decided you are going to carry my son!” “Excuse me God! I don’t think so!” It would have been war. However, Mary as scared as she was she said let God’s will be done. She was absolutely willing. What astounds me is that over and over again as Jesus grows into manhood you hear the scripture say, “She took these things and pondered them in her heart!” God about has to knock me down with a brick and still sometimes it doesn’t stick. I just wonder what kind of woman she really must have been to be blessed among women.

Song to Jesus: “Did you know?”
This song will get you thinking, boy oh boy! It basically asks Jesus a series of questions that I honestly have never thought about before. Did Jesus understand his fullness as a babe? Did the cross cast its shadow o’er your cradle?/ Did you shudder each time Your hammer struck a nail? (Written by Todd Agnew, c2006 Ardent). It is just a breathtaking piece.

Elizabeth’s Lullaby: “Sleep well”
39At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, 40where she entered Zechariah's home and greeted Elizabeth. 41When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42In a loud voice she exclaimed: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!"- Luke 1:39-45 I can barely contain myself when I read this piece of scripture. That all Mary had to do was speak Elizabeth’s name and John knew and in that instant Elizabeth had full understanding of the child Mary was carrying. Oh my goodness. What an amazing God we serve that he orchestrates everything so perfectly and beautifully. This glorious song reminds me of this scripture often. I can just imagine Elizabeth leaning over the cradle and singing to John, looking at her child with love and care, all the while knowing that God would call Him to prepare the way. Glorious, simply Glorious!

Simeon: “He is called Jesus”
God told Simeon he would see HIM! Wow! I can just imagine the emotions he was feeling when Joseph, Mary, and Jesus walked in. I feel the joy in this song, the honor in this song, the humbleness in this song and I think I get a glimpse of what he must felt. I also think Simeon was not only rejoicing for the Christ child, but also that he soon would be residing in glory.

The Magi: “God with us”
This song sounds like Christmas. It is breathtaking. Can you imagine kings…royalty coming with gifts to give what they thought in their mind was just a special king…not fully understanding or knowing what they would find. How do you put that into words? How do you even speak from something like that? I grew up in church, but I’ve had those moments, though brief, when I’ve had a glimpse of God’s magnitude. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to herald Him in! I can’t imagine what it was like to see Him in the flesh…what a day that will be!!!

The Angels: “Glory to God”
Pull over the car, raise you hands, clap and sing, Jesus is here…an army of angels herald His birth, and it is a glorious and terrifying event. Can you imagine the tingle you got from that concert? WOW…Glory to God indeed!

The Shepherds: “Bethlehem dawn”
So it is the wee hours of the morning after Christ has been born and nothing seems different. No one really understands or even knows what is going down in this little town. They wake up and start their day just like any other. Truly…Not even the Bethlehem dawn/ Could compare to the light it revealed/ Not even the Bethlehem sun/ That unveiled the Son of God sleeping in a cattle stall/ The almighty God humbled to save us all/ Can you believe what he sacrificed for me?/ On that Bethlehem Dawn…(Written by Todd Agnew, c2006 Ardent) My preacher’s favorite representation of Christ to the church is the Shepherd to his flock. Can you imagine? I think if I were able to go back in time I would want to be on that hillside with the shepherds. What they must have seen? They were simple folk and they saw one of the most glorious displays of God’s power…they got in on a Heaven worship service, what it will be like for all eternity…man what a blessing!

Postlude: “In the first light”
I first heard this song on Point of Grace’s second Christmas album. It was a warm October evening, yes I start listening to Christmas in October…earlier in fact, and I was walking at night in my neighborhood. I almost couldn’t contain myself. I just cannot tell you what this song did to me. POG does it acapella(msp). BEAUTIFUL…however, when you hear the magnitude of the song on this album it leaves you breathless. It is on MySpace, so I’m not gonna share any words…you can listen for yourself.

You can also find Todd talking about each song under his About Me section on his MySpace. You can feel the passion he has for these songs.

God bless you all and MERRY CHRISTMAS! (I can’t wait to get to Heaven!)

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