Advent-Christmas is coming

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.

Advent
updated for Advent 2022, which starts on November 27.

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.)

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.)

three people, blurred, holding lit candles
photo from LIGHTSTOCK.COM, affiliate link

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.

"For unto us a son is given" baby lying in a manger
quote from Isaiah 9:6; graphic from LIGHTSTOCK.COM, affiliate link

Handel’s Messiah

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 MESSIAH, A JOYFUL CELEBRATION

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.

The association between barbers and surgeons goes back to the early Middle Ages when the practice of surgery and medicine was carried out by the clergy.

But in 1215, a papal decree ruled that priests could no longer partake in any shedding of blood. Because barbers were accustomed to using a razor, it was presumed that they would be skillful in carrying out any treatment that involved cutting the skin, and so the practice was taught to them.

PBS.ORG
Christmas manger display
photo by Dr. Aletha – a Nativity display at church

Read this post to learn more about Handel and Messiah; did you know it wasn’t written for Christmas?

You can listen to Messiah with Amazon Prime Music; sign up at this affiliate link, which also helps support this blog.

sharing the HEART of Advent

I appreciate all of you who are following Watercress Words, and if you aren’t I invite you to join the wonderful people who are. You can meet some of them in the sidebar, where you can click on their image and visit their blogs. Use the form to get an email notification of new posts. Don’t worry, you won’t get anything else from me.

Dr. Aletha

Author: Aletha Cress Oglesby, M.D.

As a family physician, I explore the HEART of HEALTH in my work, recreation, community, and through writing. My blog, Watercress Words, informs and inspires us to live in health. I believe we can turn our health challenges into healthy opportunities. When we do, we can share the HEART of health with our families, communities, and the world. Come explore and share with me.

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