Waiting For Messiah

After a few year’s of singing Handel’s Messiah each December, nothing sounds like Christmas to me quite as much as the beginning notes of “For Unto Us A Child Is Born.” Even when we sing them at a rehearsal in September. Who says time travel is out of our reach? A little music, a particular sense of smell – memory has to be the key. Take that and run with it, science folks.
Anyway. I’m not singing Messiah this year. With a few changes in our family life, the choir just didn’t fit this fall. Performances are last night and today, but I won’t be attending. A quirky thing about my musical tastes is that what I like to sing in choirs, and what I enjoy listening too aren’t even really a Venn diagram. They’re more like hemispheres. I may listen to a track or two, thanks be to Spotify, but no full-blown immersion in the telling of the story of Jesus who was and is and is to come.

And that is really what I’m missing about the rehearsals, as I gear up for Advent. Messiah rehearsals have become a way of  interacting with Scripture that is bodily, and so far for me, irreplaceable. Why is “For Unto Us A Child Is Born” the beginning of Christmas, when it isn’t the first piece sung by the chorus? Because I remember that first year, and that first performance: I was pregnant with Bliss. I remember rehearsing and wondering if the baby would be a boy or girl, and feeling the contrast of the bouncy joyful runs with the feelings of nausea and total anxiety. I remember singing “his yoke is easy” when it didn’t feel that way at all – my idea of following Jesus didn’t seem to be matching up with the rest of the world (yeah, I know, but Handel left those verses out). Yelling at God in your head while singing the almost-perky chorus is quite the prayer experience.

Advent is like that for me: a liturgical season of contrast. Apocalypse, anticipation, joy, hope, anxiety. Dark and light. Part Hallelujah chorus and part Surely. Welcome back, favorite season of mine.


About mommymergent

Joyfully living as momma to Miss Bliss, serving the Episcopal Church as priest, and reluctantly becoming part of the mysterious emergent church
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