Les Clemens
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Without a doubt my favourite music of Christmas comes from the Messiah by George Frideric  Handel. I may certainly not be alone in such admiration though if Jingle Bells ranks in your top  five, your tastes definitely swing in a different direction than mine. I suspect it was in the early  years of my life when it was this sort of thing that played in our house, dad cranking the volume  whenever it got to the Hallelujah” that got me into such music. But I digress. When it comes to  expressing the awesome greatness of God at Christmas, nothing exceeds Handel’s inspired  efforts. And I am not just referring to the Hallelujah Chorus! What he does so effectively is take  Holy Scripture and put it to music in such a way that the careful listener will hear the gospel. I  say careful listener because most people who enjoy this festive musicale miss the point of what  Handel is attempting to do. As Handel himself states, “I should be sorry if I have only  succeeded in entertaining them; I wished to make them better.”

People seem to miss the fact  that this music is about the coming Messiah himself, the Redeemer and Lord. Take for example the opening lines, "Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God” which  of course comes right from Isaiah 40:1. From here Handel weaves a musical tapestry which  alternates between the highs and lows of God relationship with humanity and his ultimately  goal of redemption through Jesus Christ, the Messiah. With dramatic crescendo he lifts our  hearts with “For Unto us A Child is Born”. It continues with precious praise throughout causing  the listening to ponder even more this great God. This almost celestial tapestry ends with the  glorious “Worthy is the Lamb” and the “Amen”, a fitting conclusion indeed.

Now a proper  description of this grand work would take more space and greater knowledge than what I have  but I hope you see something of what I am trying to say.  In light of this I would like to encourage you to take another look at Christmas. Back up a bit  from the fears and anxieties of COVID. Consider you’re standing before our holy God and  ponder where you are at in relation to him. In doing this take some time to listen to some of the  music of Christmas and reflect on how these songs display the glory of our God incarnate.  Better yet, go to your favourite music streaming service, cue up the Messiah and with your  bible in hand and crank it up. Perhaps you will be renewed in your appreciation not only for this  significant work but more importantly with God himself.