‘And the Glory of the Lord…”
Music to make the holiday heart sing!
Of all the sights, sounds and smells associated with the Christmas season, none more swiftly transports me to memories of Christmases past and fills me with all the joy and majesty of the season as listening to the opening strains of Handel’s Messiah. Although the oratorio beautifully tells the full gospel message better suited to Easter, the first few notes of the overture, played during Advent, seem to set the stage for this entire grand narrative that begins with Jesus’ birth, and I feel like my soul lights up like a Christmas tree upon hearing them.
As a young child, I was introduced to this famous music when my parents would play The Young Messiah by the New London Chorale in our cassette player as we would drive around looking at Christmas lights. My Dad had brought the album home after one of his trips to the Netherlands and I loved the modern tones of this new version, with spectacular drums and bold gospel voices. There was a glory in this music that I hadn’t experienced before.
Then, one year, our high school choir joined with several other school choirs for an unforgettable Christmas performance of a medley of Christmas music. There was that glorious feeling again in my spirit as we belted out the Hallelujah chorus together with peers from Christian, Catholic and public schools in our community.
As an adult I was privileged to perform Messiah as part of a symphony chorus, and years later I still can’t help but hum or sing along to the alto parts of “And the glory of the Lord,” whenever I hear it. Whether we are listening to it while trimming the tree, or singing along as we bake gingerbread cookies, or sitting in quiet awe during a performance, this music never ceases to fill me with the hope, promise and glory of the gift of our Saviour. Hallelujah!
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