Thursday, December 23, 2010

Fourth Week of Advent: Thursday

One of our family's traditions on Christmas morning is to read together the words of Handel's Messiah. Each family member is given a copy of the text, and take turns reading a selection, as is shown divided below. The conclusion, we read in unison, beginning with the words, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain..." through to the "AMEN."

"Hallelujah! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth. The kingdom of this world is become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. Hallelujah!"

And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, justified by the Spirit, seen of angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up in glory.

In Christ are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

George Fredrick Handel's

Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God;
speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her,
that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardon'd.

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness,
Prepare ye the way of the Lord,
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill made low,
the crooked straight, and the rough places plain.

And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
and all flesh shall see it together;
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it.

Thus saith the Lord of hosts;
Yet once a little while, and I will shake the heavens and the earth;
the sea and the dry land.
And I will shake all nations; and the desire of all nations shall come.
The Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come to His temple,
even the Messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in:
Behold He shall come, saith the Lord of Hosts.

But who may abide the Day of His coming?
And who shall stand when He appeareth?
For He is like a refiner's fire.

And He shall purify the sons of Levi,
that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.

Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son,
and shall call His name Emmanuel, God with us.

O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion,
get thee up into the high mountain:
O thou that tellest good tidings to Jerusalem,
lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid:
Say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God.
Arise, shine, for thy Light has come,
and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.

For behold, darkness shall cover the earth,
and gross darkness the people;
but the Lord shall arise upon thee,
and His glory shall be seen upon thee.
And the Gentiles shall come to thy light,
and kings to the brightness of thy rising.

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light;
and they that dewlleth in the land of the shadow of death,
upon them hath the light shined.

For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given;
and the government shall be upon His shoulder;
and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor,
The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

There were shepherds abiding in the field,
keeping watch over their flocks by night.
And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them,
and the glory of the Lord shone round about them,
and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not;
for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy,
which shall be to all people:
For unto you is born this day, in the City of David,
a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

And suddenly there was with the angel
a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth,
good will towards men.

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion,
shout, O daughter of Jerusalem;
behold, thy king cometh unto thee;
He is the righteous Saviour;
and He shall speak peace unto the heathen.

Then shall the eyes of the blind be open'd,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
then shall the lame man leap as a hart,
and the tongue of the dumb shall sing.

He shall feed His flock like a shepherd:
He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom,
and gently lead those that are with young.

Come unto Him all ye that labour and are heavy laden,
and He will give you rest.
Take His yoke upon you, and learn of Him;
for He is meek and lowly in heart:
and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
His yoke is easy, and His burthen is light.

Part 2

Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.

He was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows,
and aquainted with grief. He gave His back to the smiters,
and His cheeks to them that plucked off the hair:
He hid not His face from shame and spitting.

Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows:
He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
the chastisement of our peace was upon Him,
and with His stripes, we are healed.

All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned every one to his own way.
And the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

All they that see Him laugh Him to scorn;
they shoot out their lips and shake their heads saying:
He trusted in God that He would deliver Him,
let Him deliver Him, if He delight in Him.

Thy rebuke hath broken His heart; He is full of heaviness,
He looked for some to have pity on Him,
neither found He any to comfort Him.
Behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto His sorrow.

He was cut off out of the land of the living,
for the transgression of Thy people was He stricken.

But Thou didst not leave His soul in hell;
nor didst Thou suffer Thy Holy One to see corruption.

Lift up your heads, O ye gates,
and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors,
and the King of Glory shall come in.
Who is the King of Glory?
The Lord strond and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, O ye gates,
and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors,
and the King of Glory shall come in.
Who is the King of Glory?
The Lord of Hosts, He is the King of Glory.

How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace,
and bring glad tidings of good things.
Their sound has gone out into all lands,
and their words unto the ends of the world.

Why do the nations so furiously rage together,
and why do the people imagine a vain thing?
The kings of the earth rise up, and the rulers take counsel together
against the Lord, and against His Anointed, saying:
Let us break their bonds asunder, and cast away their yokes from us.

He that dwelleth in heaven shall laugh them to scorn;
the Lord shall have them in derision.
Thou shall break them with a rod of iron;
Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.

HALLELUJAH: for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth.
The kingdom of this world is become the kingdom of our Lord,
and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever.

Part 3

I know that my Redeemer liveth,
and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth;
and though worms destroy this body,
yet in my flesh I shall see God.
For now is Christ risen from the dead, the first-fruits of them that sleep.

Since by man came death __
By man came also the resurrection of the dead.
For as in Adam all die __
Even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

Behold, I tell you a mystery;
We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.

The trumpet shall sound,
and the dead shall be raised incorruptible,
and we shall be changed.
For this corruptible must put on incorruption,
and this mortal must put on immortality.

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, 
and hath redeemed us to God by His blood to receive power,
and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour,
and glory, and blessing.

Blessing and honour,
glory and power,
be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne,
and unto the Lamb,
for ever and ever.



Persis said...

You have a great family tradition, Craig.

We took turns reading thru these scriptures from the Messiah at our last women's meeting. I'm listened to and sung the Messiah but never just read the words. It was wonderful to hear and ponder these verses.

Have a very blessed Christmas! said...

Yes, it is pure gospel. Christ is the focus of each and every phrase.