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Handel’s healing Messiah

A close friend and I have a pact that we need to wait until we’ve properly celebrated Thanksgiving before we’re allowed to listen to Christmas music.

I’m faithful to this agreement, with one small exception—enjoying Handel’s Messiah. It’s my all-time favorite piece of Christmas music (although originally written for Easter) and a source of great inspiration to me throughout the year. I developed a relationship with Messiah back in a middle school music appreciation class. Best of the Messiah was one of my first CDs. In high school, I heard it performed in its entirety at the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, Utah. Now I’ve downloaded the complete oratorio onto my iPod. And I’m thoroughly enamored.

What is it that makes Handel’s Messiah unique? It’s so much more than a performance or redundant collection of yuletide tunes. To me, it’s a precious tapestry of timeless and healing Scriptural text, held together by dynamic orchestral and choral music. I think people love it because it’s singable, endearing, and filled with hope. But even more than that, Messiah is distinguished by the message of the Christ—the tender feeling of “God with us,” as translated from the Hebrew word Immanuel (see Matt. 1:23). This holy partnership of music and Bible passages elicits feelings of grace and peace that bring healing when we need it most.

Read the whole article on spirituality.com.

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