From the moment the tenor intones “Comfort ye my people” to the majestic Halleluiah Chorus Handel’s Messiah captures the essence of Advent—comfort, hope, change. The blind will see and the lame will leap. The people who have seen a great darkness will see a great light. Halleluiah!!! Hope abounds for we have seen a great light, Jesus the Christ dwells among us. Rejoice!
Today’s reading from Isaiah (29:17-24) says all this and adds:
The lowly will ever find joy in the LORD,
and the poor rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.
For the tyrant will be no more
and the arrogant will have gone;
All who are alert to do evil will be cut off,
those whose mere word condemns a man,
Who ensnare his defender at the gate,
and leave the just man with an empty claim.
The incarnation has a social dimension. It has a political dimension. The poor will rejoice because they will be exulted while the proud and haughty oppressors will be brought low.
Matthew (9:27-31) recounts that Jesus healed two blind men. Jesus heals us. We who were walking in darkness have indeed seen a great light—Jesus the Christ living among us, living in us is us.
We attended the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus performance of the Messiah last night. God was there in all God’s glory from the opening “Comfort” to the final “Halleluiah!” The mystery of the Incarnation, Light of Lights, the beauty of the music with harmonious sounds of the instruments and the beautiful blending of human voices served to create glory and praise to our God. The Halleluiah Chorus was magnificent and powerful! It left me breathless. It filled me with awe.
Beautiful music stirs us to belief and hope. Hearing the Messiah, we have to hope. We can envision the lame leaping, the deaf hearing, the blind seeing, and the poor exulting.
As I write this, I realize that words can never capture an experience like this. The only thing to do is to listen to the Christmas portions of the Messiah and to enjoy God’s presence among us.
Awake! Rejoice! Leap for joy! Shout “Halleluiah! Halleluiah! Halleluiah!”