Now is the time to spend a little time thinking about how you want to establish a musical culture for your family this Christmas. What music do you want written on their hearts and memories?
When I was pregnant with child #1, our beloved pastor and his wife, Norman and Connie Shepherd, invited us over for Sunday dinner. Their daughters were probably about 12 and 14 at the time. I noted with interest that Connie, soon after arriving home from morning worship, went right over to the stereo and popped in Handel’s “Messiah.” Not having heard it on a regular basis growing up, I was delighted to have such a treat! How much more delighted I was when I learned that Connie had set her heart upon her girls having all of “Messiah” memorized by the time they left home!
Thus began a family tradition for us. Michael already owned a classic recording of it on LP, but playing it on LP was cumbersome, requiring careful prep of the LP, cleaning the needle, etc. As soon as we were able to purchase a digital remastering on CD, we did! Sundays became the day we listened to the recording consistently, then once Advent arrived, we would listen to portions of it daily. Sometimes I would pull out our copy of the libretto and sing along. When the children were older, we would try to sing it together!
What did Child #1 sing in kindergarten with her whole school at the annual Christmas program? The “Hallelujah Chorus!”
What more can you ask for than to write Scripture upon your children’s hearts? To learn the account of God’s redemption through song?
And what happened once Child #1 left home and went off to a Classical college? She joined the choir, naturally. What did they perform for that freshman year Christmas concert? Handel’s “Messiah!”
Here it is: Handel’s “Messiah” and the whole two hours of it! This is a remastering of a 1960’s recording of Sir Colin Davis conducting the London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Heather Harper, soprano. We’ve reviewed other recordings, and unlike others, these people really sound like they believe what they’re singing!
And the musical score of above is a selection of “Messiah” in Handel’s own hand!