No, I’m not in Ireland (although, wouldn’t that be great?!) I’ve been running around like a crazy person for the last few days trying to get ready for the annual Christmas trip to Texas. But I did take a few moments out of the busy days to enjoy a Christmas concert last night with Keith and Kristy Getty. I took my parents as an early anniversary present and we had a wonderful time. For those who might not be familiar with the Gettys, they are a husband/wife duo from northern Ireland who write modern hymns. Their style is fresh, but with a decidedly ancient feel as their music draws strongly upon early Irish tradition.
They’ve been to Indy a few times, but this is the first opportunity I’ve had to see them in person. The first half of the concert was designed to be like an outdoor Irish festival. They had an amazing band complete with clog dancers! I loved the pieces that let the band go wild with Christmas joy. Their version of Sleigh Ride was utter delight. Fiddles, mandolin, lute, harp, uileann pipes, guitars, and percussion all melded together perfectly. We ended the first half with a carol singalong. The second half was patterned after “carol lessons” or catechisms in which each grouping of songs communicated an important truth about redemptive history. It had a very intimate feel to it and it was almost like being in a church setting. Five windows along the back of the stage stood for the five portions of the second half – creation/ancient history, the Old Testament times, the Advent, the Passion of Christ, and His return. Each window was illuminated during the set of songs and readings. I was really fascinated with the way they wove the music and readings into a cohesive narrative that felt like a liturgy. Even though some of the songs were contemporary, they had a sense of richness of ancientness about them. Periodically we were invited to stand and sing with them. The climax of the evening was when we joined with the Gettys and the band in singing “In Christ Alone”. This is their most famous hymn and it is my favorite sacred song. It was thrilling to hear it sung by hundreds of people – I didn’t know anyone – but we were all united and bound together by the belief of what we sang. As our voices swelled together declaring Christ’s victory and the hope He brings, it seemed to be the perfect way to celebrate Christmas and I tried to burn that memory into my mind. It is a moment I’ll cherish forever.
Blessings to you,