Don’t Stop at the Manger, Just Pause

Tears streamed down my face as the soloist sang Handel’s, “Hallelujah Chorus.” I sat mesmerized in the pew of my church over fifteen years ago, awestruck by the majesty of Handel’s musical portrait of Christ.

This year, my pastor in Mt. Airy, NC is doing a three-part series on the background of Handel’s Messiah in Sunday school. I’m glad.

Learning about the Oratorio forces my mind to consider the fulfillment in the prophecies of Christ. Listening to the splendid music helps me to experience the wonder of the Christmas miracle.

God became man and was born of a woman as a baby.

Often, at Christmastime, we don’t just pause at the manger, we stop. And then we move on to more important things like shopping and baking and family. We don’t take time to consider the significance.

Jesus came to die.

But before that, he lived a perfect life. And died a perfect death.

And sometimes we stop there. Handel didn’t.

The end of the second movement (I think that’s what you call it.) is the “Hallelujah Chorus.” The words are a quote from the prophet Isaiah when Jesus is prophetically called the Wonderful Counselor. The Mighty God and the Everlasting Father. The Prince of Peace.

How can that be? One glance at the Internet or turn of the remote dispels any hope of peace.

Let me give you a couple of reasons. First, Christ’s kingdom isn’t of this world. At least—not yet.

In John 18, when Pilate asked Jesus if He is King of the Jews, Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”

So where is this mysterious kingdom? And where is this elusive peace?

Let me take you to one of the most famous passages of the New Testament, the Sermon on the Mount found in Matthew’s gospel, chapters 5-7.

Jesus astounds the people and enrages the Pharisees when He describes a new kingdom of the heart. A kingdom of grace. A kingdom that begins in the heart and works itself out in actions. This kingdom is Christ in you. (For more information about that, refer to the book of John, chapters 14-16. Or just email me.)

The other kingdom described in Messiah, is a future kingdom. A kingdom ruled by the One True King. King Jesus.

In a day when we hear about government corruption, don’t you just long for a just ruler? One that has the best interests of His subjects in mind?

One day, there will be.

Here is my question to you; Are you part of Christ’s kingdom now? Do you want to be? It’s easy to do. But costly. You give up the right to run your own life.

But good.

Then, you will join that Hallelujah Chorus. And you’ll sound good.

Take time to pause at the manger, but don’t stop. Move on. Drink in His majesty. Meditate on His kingdom now and to come. Be amazed and awed by this baby in a manger. The King of Kings.

Listen and be amazed with me:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76RrdwElnTU[/youtube]

 

 

 

 

 

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