Written by: Laura Chambers (October 15, 2017)

There’s nothing like Christmas music to get you into the spirit of the holidays. I mean real Christmas music. Not the 20,000th cover of a love song that has Christmas tacked onto it like an afterthought. I’m talking songs which tell the story and express the wonder of Christ’s coming from various points of view. Sure, there’s room for a novelty song or two – I like the hippopotamus song, too! That said, you won’t find any of that on Meredith Andrews’s latest Christmas album, Receive Our King. All of the songs included are gospel-centered, whether reworked old favorites or brand new lyrics.

“Come Thou Long Expected Jesus” has a swifter beat to it than usual, like a train speeding along the tracks, or perhaps the thudding of an excited heart. An added bridge disrupts the hymn’s lyrics, recognizing that Jesus’ coming is still reaching through the ages, calling to those who weren’t even alive at the time of His first arrival. Now we await His return as king. “Glory In The Highest” tells of the shepherds being visited by angels proclaiming the glory of the Lord. We see God in the body of an infant, such a humble form to take. I’d kind of like to hear an acoustic version of this song; the instrumentation that was chosen seems more like a dance party than a reverent moment. “Behold The Savior” looks upon the sleeping infant Christ, wondering at His having left heaven for Earth to save us. Everyone who comes to Him sees the fulfillment of God’s promises to His people.

Andrews‘ take on “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” is garnished with sleigh bells, ukelele (I think?) and slightly melancholy verse vocals, despite its joyful theme. Aside from that, it doesn’t deviate much from the hymn. “Labor Of Love” paints what is one of my favorite pictures of the reality of the birth of Christ; it wasn’t glamorous by any means, but love permeated every second of Mary’s ordeal. Andrews’ voice soars through the chorus, bringing some of the passion of that night to life. “He Has Come For Us (God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” adds a chorus that slows down the rapid pace of the verses, as though those being entreated to rest take a moment to consider what Christ’s birth means to them. Yet the frantic pace of the music continues throughout the song, perhaps evoking the world hurrying around those who have been stopped in their tracks. (It wears me out just listening to it!)

“Sweet Little Jesus Boy” makes use of a cappella echoes, beginning softly and becoming louder at certain points. I don’t care for her version of this song; it sounds like somebody’s dialing the volume up and down. The message is as jarring as these sudden changes, however, so maybe that’s what she was going for. Mike Weaver joins Andrews for “Receive Our King”, which expresses a desire to passionately declare the good news and welcome Jesus into our lives as the focus of all of our attention and worship. With a chorus that draws from the passage in Isaiah that foretells Christ’s coming, this is one of the best tracks on the whole album. “It Came Upon A Midnight Clear (Holy, Holy)” is another gem; Andrews’ rich voice pours out like paint onto a canvas, telling of the angels singing on that sacred night long ago. “Away In A Manger/The Gospel Changes Everything” shows us how the single event of Jesus’ birth some 2,000 years ago is rippling outward and affecting world history and our personal lives as well. He rescues and changes us for the better, drawing us ever closer to Him as we come to know Him.

Meredith Andrews has filled our stocking this year with a variety of songs which all share a common theme; celebrating the true meaning of Christmas, both the majestic and the messy sides. Receive Our King reminds us to view Christ’s birth as a sacred mystery, a priceless gift, and an unimaginable example of grace given at a high cost


Released: October 27, 2017

Label: Word / Curb Music

Track Listing:

  1. Come Thou Long Expected Jesus (4:08)
  2. Glory In The Highest (4:51)
  3. Behold The Savior (4:04)
  4. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (3:39)
  5. Labor of Love (3:49)
  6. He Has Come For Us (God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen) (4:02)
  7. Sweet Little Jesus Boy (2:44)
  8. Receive Our King (feat. Mike Weaver) (3:46)
  9. It Came Upon A Midnight Clear (Holy, Holy) (4:11)
  10. Away In A Manger/The Gospel Changes Everything (feat. Maverick Sooter) (4:53)

10 tracks 41:00

Buy on iTunes

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