Friday, December 18, 2009

Factual Friday: “And His name shall be called Wonderful...”

Fact: Handel wrote the first version of “Messiah” in 24 days!

Tonight, Dan and I will be attending a performance of Handel’s “Messiah” at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C! Last year, I attended the same performance with my mom the night before Dan joined us to see the National Christmas Tree. I guess you could say this marks one year since he began pursuing a relationship with me. :) What a difference a year makes!

I think many people are familiar with portions of Handel’s “Messiah” (mainly the Hallelujah Chorus) but last year was my first time hearing the oratorio in its “entirety”. With many existing versions, there is no one that is considered truly “correct” or “authentic”. The arrangements are adjusted to account for what singers and instruments are available. Some use fewer instruments or substitute some while others use different configurations of the basic soprano/alto/tenor/bass grouping (for example, a contralto and a bass-baritone). Handel himself reworked it several times to accommodate such differences.

There is simply something overwhelming, though, about hearing Scripture sung in the soaring Concert Hall at the Kennedy Center. That God’s Word can still be proclaimed openly in such a public venue is such a wonderful freedom. It brought me chills last year to see the entire audience stand when the first strains of the Hallelujah Chorus sounded. I know some are simply following convention but still, to see all those people standing at the triumphant proclamation of Christ’s coming is remarkable.

As we enter the last week before Christmas, I pray that you will set aside time to be still and ponder God’s gift. Curl up with a cup of hot chocolate (or chai, in my case) and spend some time just staring at your Christmas tree, thinking of the most precious, wonderful Gift of all.

Merry (almost) Christmas!

Soli Deo Gloria,

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