Recently, I attended a performance of Handel’s Messiah by our local Symphony Orchestra and regional chorus. They gave us a beautiful Christmas gift! Amazingly, it was my first opportunity to hear the oratorio in person, not just from a recording. What an event!
Before they began, the conductor explained Handel’s method of word and music as being like a painter with his brush . . . expressing in music and words the story we should absorb as we listened . . . that we should let the music paint its picture on our heart. Also, he asked that we break from tradition and not stand during the final Hallelujah Chorus—to continue to sit back and fully embrace the glory of the finale.
As the final Hallelujah Chorus was sung, I found myself immersed in the scene taken from Revelation 4:8, “ . . . day and night they never cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” For me, Handel’s Messiah brought to human level the reality and beauty expressed in the written word of God. I could picture all of heaven casting their crowns forever in song before the King of Kings! Amazing!
I do love Christmas. The music, lights, reds and greens everywhere, the smell of Christmas trees—real or scented. I wonder . . . can all these things be a search on our part to recreate the glorious sounds of heaven touching earth that first Christmas? What did those shepherds alone with their sheep see and hear that night? Are all lights, music, and art in their many forms mankind’s attempt to replicate that glory, the depths of beauty that came forth in Christ’s first breath on earth? What joy! What connection at last!
True, Handel’s Messiah caused me to be gripped by the written word of God. But, all honor does not go to George Frideric Handel alone. Admittedly brilliant, Handel brought music to a truth. That truth was spoken through mankind by the Spirit of God ages ago. The words of the Messiah are straight from our Creator; again proving to me the power of God’s Holy Spirit to birth his love in our hearts!
Videos, recordings and reviews of Handel’s Messiah were no substitute for experiencing this music up close, personally. As we enjoy the sounds, smells and lights we create around this holiday season, let’s not settle for anything but the real thing—being personally invaded by the real—not replicas. My friends, Jesus is real, the Real One who loves us completely. He was born in humble circumstances, was perfect but totally human, and took on himself everything that hinders our grasping God’s complete love for us. He even conquered death. He returned to us with open arms. Our only “requirement” to experience this love is to walk into his offered embrace. The choice is ours.
I enjoy the replicas.
I choose the Real.
Keep looking up,
© December 9, 2016