It’s Christmas again and before you know it, the hustle and bustle is well and truly underway! There are parties, carol concerts, shopping and a myriad of things to get through, as well as normal everyday life. Before long, you are caught up in the whole thing with hardly any time to think let alone reflect on what Christmas is all about.
Thankfully, a friend of mine got me tickets to go and see a Christmas production at the Royal Albert Hall. The Mozart Festival Orchestra and Chorus presented Carols by Candlelight; complete with period costumes, readings by Robert Powell the actor, from Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and the Bible…..and Handel’s Messiah!
The conductor, Steven Devine was jovial and full of jokes: ‘A man was driving along with a lot of penguins in the back of his car. He was stopped by a policeman who said,”You need to take those penguins to the Zoo!”. Some time later, the same policeman saw the same man with the penguins, who now had sunglasses on! “I thought I told you to take those penguins to the zoo!” he said, more than a little miffed. “I did!” replied the driver,”Now we’re going to the beach!”‘ boo boom!
As I sat alone in my boxed seat with two other strangers, (sadly my friend couldn’t come due to work commitments and my ‘substitute’ friend forgot to turn up!) I was reminded of the real reason for Christmas. The gratitude, joy and peace I felt reminded me that the birth of Christ is something to be thankful for, and the beauty, artistry and timelessness of Handel’s Messiah just filled me with joy!
Sitting there, enjoying the good humour, camaraderie and delight of the huge RAH audience, as we participated in the carol singing, I felt immense gratitude, not just for a friend who gave me such an incredible gift, but also for the reason for the season.
On a day that the news was filled with David Cameron’s reminder to the church that Christians should assert the deep-rooted Christian traditions of the country, sitting in a box at the Royal Albert Hall listening to Handel’s Zadok the Priest, a familiar tune that was first played at King George II’s coronation and all subsequent coronations, seemed to underline just how deep those Christian traditions are. The fact the Handel’s piece was inspired by the first book of kings in the Bible, just made it all the more poignant! So I’m glad to say I found love, peace and joy this Christmas through friendship, music and the birth of Jesus Christ and I pray that you do too! Merry Christmas!