Christmas and New Year Greetings

Last night we had the privilege of attending G.F. Handel’s Messiah, with members of the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra and the Rosa Barocca – Chorus & Baroque Orchestra, directed and conducted by Claude Lapalme. The Peter and Jeanne Lougheed Performing Arts Centre concert hall was filled to capacity—and for good reason, almost three hours of ‘heaven on earth’ music, celebrating the Incarnation, life, death and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah.

I have seen Handel’s Messiah several times, and heard it on record, cassette and CD a host of times—yet I never get bored or tired of it. There’s always something beautiful about it that so movingly proclaims ‘the holy’ and fills one for an all-too-brief time with the joy, love and peace of God in the midst of a troubled and all-too-often evil world that would rob us of every God-given gift. I wonder what would happen if every human being in this world—regardless of how well or how poor they could sing or play—would sing and play Handel’s Messiah together, if the intercession in the Lord’s Prayer “your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as in heaven,” would become more incarnate in and through the music to such a profound extent that all hatred, terrorism and war would vanish forever.

This time round, Isaiah’s prophecy in chapter nine, verse six, keeps playing in my head: “For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of peace.” (NRSV) He is the one who is coming to set all things, all peoples, right with the world.

Here is Sir Colin Davis and the London Symphony Orchestra with the Tenebrae Choir. I love some of the expressions on Colin’s face, he seems captivated by the joy of this marvelous music.

Wishing all of you, my readers, a very blessed Christmas and Happy New Year!

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Christmas 2016 & New Year Greeting

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Christmas 2015 Greeting & Poem

 

 

 

Nativity Lights

Nativity Lights

Divine Incarnation

 

Divine Incarnation

you come to every nation,

from Syrian refugees,

to the homeless who freeze.

 

Divine Incarnation

you come to every nation,

to lovingly give them peace,

and by making wars cease.

 

Divine Incarnation

you come to every nation,

not only now at Christmas,

since each today is blessed.

 

Divine Incarnation

you come to every nation,

you created galaxies,

yet in flesh came to be.

 

Divine Incarnation

you come to every nation,

you in the stranger or friend,

serving you to the end.

-24/12/2015 © Rev. Garth Wehrfritz-Hanson

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Joy

Michelle gives us the following challenge this week: “Whether or not you celebrate a winter holiday, the years’ end is a perfect time to look back at the year-that-was and happily forward to the year-that-will-be. A time of renewal, celebration, and joy. This week, let’s set ourselves up for a happy new year: share a photo that shows us JOY. “

Joy comes in many a various ways, a baby’s laughter, reading an insightful book, embracing a loved one after a long journey, celebrating festivals like Christmas-the birth of Christ.  Check out the other entries here.

A favourite nativity decoration on our Christmas tree

A favourite nativity decoration on our Christmas tree

“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.” Mary, after she learns that she is going to give birth to Jesus, sings the magnificat.  (Luke 1:47-49)

“Compassion is sometimes the fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else’s skin. It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too.” -Frederick Buechner

“Now, when I hear that Christians are getting together in order to defend the people of Israel, of course it brings joy to my heart. And it simply says, look, people have learned from history.” -Elie Wiesel

“To serve is beautiful, but only if it is done with joy and a whole heart and a free mind.” -Pearl S. Buck

“I sing my sorrow, and I paint my joy.” -Joni Mitchell

“As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.” -Jesus (John 15:9-11)

Christmas Collage

2013-12-25

Weekly Photo Challenge: Let There Be Light!

Ben Huberman gives us the following challenge: “Let there be light! Many of you already know that the photo in photography means light. More often than not, though, we shy away from actually showing its source in our photos. In time for the shortest days of the year (at least in the northern hemisphere), let’s give our trusty lightbulbs, flickering candles, and pedestrian street lamps their due respect. IN A NEW POST CREATED FOR THIS CHALLENGE, SHARE A PHOTO THAT FEATURES A LIGHT SOURCE. We’re entering a truly light-filled season. Christmas trees, Hanukkah menorahs, and Kwanzaa kinaras are spreading their glow in homes the world over (or are just about to), while main streets and public buildings are being prepared for the winter holidays with an explosion of bright decorations. Take a look around you. Choose one of the light sources you see, and make it the focus of your challenge entry. It can be a dramatic chandelier or a pair of dying candles; the moon, a row of glaring lightbulbs in the parking lot, or a gaudy lava lamp stored in your attic: anything goes. The light doesn’t even have to be switched on: some lamps are just as fascinating for their shape as for the photons they emit.” Be sure to check out the other entries here.

Nativity Lights

Nativity Lights

“O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the LORD!” Isaiah 2:5

Light bathing the frosty trees while walking

Light bathing the frosty trees while walking

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness-on them light has shined.” Isaiah 9:2

Medicine Hat lights at night

Medicine Hat lights at night

“You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16

Another Nativity

Another Nativity

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” John 1:1-5

Advent wreath & candles

Advent wreath & candles

“Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

And finally, a little music, “Light of the world,” Tim Hughes:

Dec 09 Scribbles

Bethlehem, House of Bread, Welcome The Bread of Life

 

Love Divine, all loves excelling. Joy of heaven to earth come down!