One of my Christmas traditions is to listen to my favorite parts of George Frideric Handel’s “Messiah” as close to Christmas Eve night as possible. I have a terrific rendition, by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra conducted by Andrew Davis, that brings majesty and reverence to the piece in ways the traditional chamber orchestra recordings do not (though if you want the best traditional recording of the piece, go with Sir Neville Mariner and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields).
My favorite part of “Messiah” is the very end: “Worthy is the Lamb” and “Amen”. I honestly don’t have enough room in a blog post to share with you all the best musical bits, nor can I share with you just how impressive Handel’s work really is (though hit the link at the top of the post for a very interesting read). I’ll just leave you with this video done by Mack Wilberg, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and the Orchestra at Temple Square.
Their performance is a taste of what John the Revelator heard when he wrote this:
And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;
Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.
And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.
And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.
How would a man live his life after he’s heard the entirety of the Heavenly Host sing praise to Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of the Most High God? How could his mind contain the sheer power of the song? I can not imagine it, though I think Handel got awfully close when he wrote the finale to his masterpiece.
Merry Christmas. Amen.