All posts tagged Handel’s Messiah

Comfort His People, Christmas Meditations Day #2

Glad this election is over. Aren’t you? Don’t know how you voted, but these last few months have been tense–to say the least.

It’s over now. Party decisions have been made all over the United States. Now we need to lick our wounds, and heal with our fellow Americans.

We need to be comforted.

Remember when we climbed up in our mom or dad’s lap and felt their strong embrace? Maybe you didn’t. One of my most vivid memories as a child was when we went on vacation, and my daddy woke me up to put me in the car. He picked me up jammies and all, held me close and gently placed me into our beat up station wagon.

Usually, I was awake, but pretended to be asleep with my eyes held tightly shut.

Maybe you need comforting right now from life. Or a loved one’s death. Or a loved one’s absence.

I’m speaking to you, friend. Listen to this passage from Isaiah 40:1:

Comfort, comfort my people says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem and proclaim to her that her hard serve has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins.”

No matter who is in the Oval Office, no matter who left, or even if your dear one has been promoted to glory, you have hope.

We have hope.

It all began with a baby, in a manger.

Be comforted my friend. You have hope. It came wrapped in swaddling clothes.

Here is the link to the song of the day from Handel’s Messiah:

Are There Anniversaries in Heaven, Christmas Meditations Day 1

Today would have been my parents 68th Anniversary. They made it to 59.

Here is my question; Do they celebrate anniversaries in heaven?

Here’s my guess–yes.

The reason I say that is God is a God of celebrations. Several feasts were required of the Israelites in the Old Testament, and they continued in the New Testament. One of the feasts lasted for a week with no work and living in shelters made with branches.

That sounds like a campout to me. Cooking over an open fire, hanging out with family, friends, and neighbors. That probably would have been my favorite.

The fact is, Almighty God required everyone to stop work and celebrate.

We are getting ready for the biggest celebration of the year in America–Christmas.

Jesus–the second Person of the Trinity left heaven and miraculously condescended to earth. Born as a baby, grew up as a man, and died as our Savior.

That is something to celebrate.

To remind me of this awesome fact, I’m going to write about it in order to take the time to celebrate. So here is my first passage of Scripture to meditate on today.

“For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

In America, we’ve just finished a long, mud-slinging campaign. We as a country decided who would be our President for the next four years. No, I’m not gonna go there.

Here’s my point. No matter who rules temporarily, God rules eternally through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

That is something to celebrate…

Here is a link to help you with your own celebration, friend.

PS Ribs.

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: