I remember the first time I heard Handel’s Messiah - it was at the Centre in the Square, with my sister, and we had driven our 90 year old aunt to the performance. Our aunt bought the tickets. I was not familiar with any of the music except the Hallelujah Chorus - of course! And...I was not a huge fan of classical choral music at the time. Just an aside - the Philharmonic Choir is outstanding. And so, much to my surprise, as the music began, I realized - hey, they are singing scripture. That night when I got home, I looked through my program, took out my Bible and read a selection of them.
“But as for me, I know my Redeemer lives, and he will stand upon the earth at last.”
“For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices shouting in heaven: “The world has now become the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever.”
Rev 19: 6, 16
“Then I heard again what sounded like the shout of a vast crowd or the roar of mighty ocean waves or the crash of loud thunder: “Praise the Lord! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.”
End of story that year.
Fast forward...my awareness of God’s Presence - Emmanuel - and recognizing what that felt like for me was on the increase. When He is close, I feel this pressure on my head, like when someone puts their hand gently on top of your head, and I feel something like little electric pulses around my head. It’s hard to explain. I am again sitting in the Centre in the Square listening to Handel’s Messiah. And He is there - I sense His Presence - Emmanuel - God with me. And as the audience rises to their feet during the Hallelujah Chorus, my spirit is rejoicing, my heart is bursting and I just want to raise my hands and my voice in worship!! My whole being is so very aware of Emmanuel - God with me.
Emmanuel - God with me is not just for Advent, for Christmas, or Sunday morning. Advent is this season of waiting, of expectation, of hope and is for me a reminder of my God who was, who is and always will be Emmanuel - God with us. God with me. God with you.
“But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives.”
Written by: Cathy Linseman