Advent with the Scriptures of Handel's Messiah
Forward by: Albert L Blackwell
Compiled by: Jessica Miller Kelley
Published: September 26, 2014
Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press
It has been years since I have heard Handel's Messiah or seen it performed live. It is one of the most beautiful musical and spiritual pieces I have ever heard. Listening to Handel's Messiah is part of many Christmas traditions and one I have enjoyed listening to the last few weeks.
EVERY VALLEY gives readers a more in depth look at the scriptures and offers insights into the history of the readings. Each movement offers a reflection on the verses the music is based on. You will understand why the music reaches highs and lows and the basis for the lyrics.
You can read it while listening to Handel's Messiah or read each chapter daily as you work your way through Advent. There are forty reflections with forty being an important biblical number. Forty is the maximum number of days in the Advent and Christmas seasons combined. This allows the book to be read through the start of Advent and continued through the twelfth day of Christmas. You could also read through before or after listening to a performance of Messiah. There isn't a better way to reflect on the real reason for the Christmas season than by reading and listening to God's word. You will never hear the Messiah the same way again.
Since the Advent and Christmas season can be hectic, stressful, and for some a difficult time, readers can find comfort in the Scripture, reflections and the music. Reading and hearing the assurance of God's promises can offer a hope and a calm like nothing else can.
I found many of the reflections on the movements interesting and once listening after reading the scripture background, I understood the meaning behind the movement even more. In fact, from Movement 11, I realized the correlation between Advent beginning during the darkest time of our year and how our days get shorter and shorter only to reverse right before Christmas. Our sunlight hours begin to lengthen and remind us that Jesus has come to be our light, leading us out of darkness.
If you are looking for a way to connect with Christ during this Christmas season, I highly recommend EVERY VALLEY as a way to dig deeper and appreciate Handel's Messiah even more.
Just this weekend, my mom sent me this amazing video of the "Hallelujah Chorus" from Handel's Messiah. This video from the small Yupiq Eskimo Village of Quinhagak, Alaska. It was a school computer project intended for the other Yupiq villages in the area. Much to the villagers' shock, over a million and a half people have viewed it.
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