Day 21: Handel’s Messiah

by Dec 21, 2020Christmas 2020, Devotional, Songs of Christmas

For the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

The kingdom of this world
Is become the kingdom of our Lord
And of His Christ, and of His Christ
And He shall reign for ever and ever
And He shall reign for ever and ever
And He shall reign for ever and ever
For ever and ever, forever and ever

King of kings (Forever and ever Hallelujah! Hallelujah!)
And Lord of lords (Forever and ever Hallelujah! Hallelujah!)

The home that I grew up in had a large living room in the middle of the house, with high ceilings and a fireplace.  This is the room where we set up our tree every Christmas.  With the mantel decorated, and the tree twinkling happily with lights and years of collected ornaments and memories, it was the room that felt the most like the holiday spirit.

Our stereo system was also in this room. It was a classic eighties model system, consisting of huge three-foot speakers and a glass cabinet housing the different audio components. The bottom of the cabinet contained stacks of records.  Admittedly, I’m not actually old enough to be a child of the record era, but my parents were never very interested in investing in new technology.  They had overlooked the phase of cassette tapes completely (although I do take credit for talking them into embracing CDs by the time I was in high school).  When I think of music from my early childhood, it is playing on a record player.

One of our favorite albums was the Messiah record.  Part of the charm was its exclusivity – my father only broke out the Messiah album on Christmas and Easter. My brother and I couldn’t wait. This was our theme album of the season!

We would beg my dad to put it on so we could dance around the living room singing “For unto us a son is born!” We knew the words to literally the entire Messiah, and loved it all, but the real belting out came during the “Halleluiah” chorus.  It was the very last song on side B of the first record and we would sing it so loud and dance so hard that we would make the record skip.  Not even my father’s threats that we could ruin the record this way could curb our enthusiasm.

It is no secret the music is a key component to memory.  Music, after all, evokes emotion and emotion brings back memories.  Hearing a certain song can immediately transport us to a certain place, a certain time, or a certain feeling.

When I hear Handel’s Messiah, even all of these years later, I am in our large living room with the high ceilings.  The tree is twinkling.  The music is playing.  There is singing and there is dancing.

Unto to us a child is still born.  And the joy of it is still overflowing.


Day 16: Silent Night

Silent night, holy night All is calm, all is bright 'Round yon virgin Mother and Child Holy infant so tender and mild Sleep in heavenly peace   Silent night, holy night! Shepherds quake at the sight! Glories stream from heaven afar; Heavenly hosts sing Al-le-lu-ia!...