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.)
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.
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
Read this post 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.Keep reading
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sharing the HEART of Advent
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