The season of Advent, which comes from the Latin word adventus meaning “coming” or “visit,” begins four Sundays before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve. Advent is the beginning of the liturgical year for Christians. (Liturgical — from liturgy, which means the forms and functions of public worship.) In 2020 Advent starts on November 29.
So, what is Christmas?
Christmas is both a secular and religious holiday. For those who observe it’s spiritual significance, Christmas is celebrated as the day the infant Jesus Christ was born (although Biblical scholars doubt that December 25 is exactly the correct day.)
Christians celebrate the season with a rich tradition of church services which feature Bible readings about Jesus’ birth and special music. And almost 300 years ago, a musician combined these traditions to create a familiar and often performed work of music.
George Frideric Handel used this scripture from Isaiah in his famous work, Messiah, first performed in 1742, and which millions of people have heard or sang since then. The entire lyrics of Messiah are derived from scriptures from both the Old and New Testaments that describe the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
Handel’s father was a barber-surgeon. Barber-surgeons were physicians in medieval Europe, who as the name suggests cut hair and performed surgery, often treating wounds from war injuries. Eventually, surgery and barbery became separate occupations.
Read another post on this blog to learn more about Handel and Messiah; did you know it wasn’t written for Christmas?
Handel’s father, Georg Handel, was a barber-surgeon, a term for physicians in the middle ages who did surgery and cut hair. Surgery was primitive and dangerous due to no anesthesia and no antibiotics to treat infection. Most surgery was done to treat war injuries.
Consider these resources for Advent- from Cokesbury
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sharing the HEART of Advent
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