HALLELUJAH for Christmas

After the first performance, in 1742, of Handel's oratorio Messiah, the British Earl of Kinnoull congratulated the composer on a "noble entertainment." Handel responded: "My Lord, I should be sorry if I only entertained them. I wished to make them better."

When I read this in the sleeve notes in a CD of Messiah, it reminded meof an observation by Mary Baker Eddy: "The primitive privilege of Christianity was to make men better, to cast out error, and heal the sick" (Christian Healing, p. 3).

I think we could say that Handel's wish has been fulfilled through the centuries. His beautiful music has certainly stirred thousands of audiences and made them feel a lot better. Also, the Bible texts Handel drew on from the Old and New Testaments have been illumined by his vision of the coming of the Messiah—God's great gift to His people.

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The GIFT of the Christ
December 19, 2005

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