The Old Testament is full of promises of a Savior, so what better way to celebrate Christmas than by looking at how those promises are fulfilled in the New Testament? “Carol of the Lamb,” a new choral piece for Christmas, is a perfect way to bring this idea to your congregation, as it features breathtaking music and references to Psalm 23.
A New Christmas Classic
“Carol of the Lamb” is for a cappella SATB choir. Lisa M. Clark’s enchanting text brings to focus the Lamb of God through a skillful retelling of Psalm 23. David von Kampen’s musical interpretation brings to life every word with beauty, using expressive dynamics and lush harmonies. Below, listen to Concordia University, Nebraska’s A Cappella Choir perform the piece.
Our Lamb, Our Shepherd
The hymn’s two stanzas are full of imagery and personification of the Lamb of God.
Little lamb, peer in the stall;
See the Lamb of God for all.
Wonder how this sacrifice
Silently will pay the price.
Through the valley He will tread,
Up a hill to bow His head.
In a garden, He will rise;
Pastures green will be the prize.
Weary shepherd, come find rest;
In a stable, be a guest.
Gather near your Shepherd Good;
He can lead where no one could.
Staff and rod Himself will bear,
Streams of life with you to share.
In His house, forever dwell,
His unending mercies tell.
We, the listeners, are urged to look upon the baby Jesus, the Lamb of God, who lies “in the stall.” The first stanza gives us a preview of this Lamb’s life. He will tread through the valley—the valley of the shadow of death mentioned in Psalm 23:4. Then He will “bow His head” as He gives up His life for us on the cross, and “He will rise” to defeat death. This baby is the Messiah, whose life, death, and resurrection will earn our salvation.
The second stanza tells us that we can “come find rest” in Him. “He can lead where no one could”—He is the one way by which we can enter heaven. As our “Shepherd Good,” He leads us past the still waters to “streams of life.” The hymn ends in the same way as Psalm 23: by mentioning the house of the Lord, in which we shall “forever dwell.”
God’s Peace This Christmas Season and Always
The music of “Carol of the Lamb” is calm, quiet, and relaxing. It envelops listeners in the warmth and delight of Christmas Eve. Imagine having it sung at your church’s candlelight Christmas Eve service, with the lights in worshipers’ hands scattering the darkness like how Jesus’ coming scattered the darkness of our world.
The breathtaking harmonies evoke a deeply peaceful feeling. This reflects the peace we have in Jesus. Because He took our place on the cross and rose again after three days, our sins are forgiven. We have everlasting life.
This Christmas season, may you experience God’s peace and joy as you remember how He sent His Son in the flesh to earn your salvation.
Hymn text copyright © 2015 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.