Tonight is the 94th annual performance of Handel’s Messiah…It will be at Community of Christ Auditorium. This will be the last performance there, because next year it will move to the new performing arts center in downtown Kansas City.

There are so many thoughts / emotions tied up in that one word…”Messiah.”

Yes, it includes the performance…sadness about the Auditorium tradition ending…but also delight that the Kansas City Symphony wants to keep the tradition alive with the Independence Messiah Choir, even if it will be in a different venue. And yet, in many ways it’s coming full circle, because the early performances of Handel’s masterpiece were in downtown Kansas City…and so, in some ways, we’re closing the circle.

But there are also deeper meanings to that word–“Messiah”–meanings that in many ways are caught up in the words of this oratorio.

I could be picky and say that there are places where Handel got it wrong…where he didn’t have the insight of current biblical study and scholarship, and so his use of the scripture is just all wrong. And some might.

But when I sit and listen to it–to the whole thing–there is such a celebration of the One whom I believe came to show us the way to develop a closer relationship with God…who came to bring healing and wholeness.

And the power of the music isn’t limited to “formal” performances. Just watch what happens when a choir breaks into the Hallelujah Chorus in–of all places–a food court!

Nor can I forget the power of “I know that my Redeemer lives”…or “The trumpet shall sound”…

As we move into this season of Advent, I am reminded by Messiah of so many meanings….that Christ has come once….that he will come again…and that my challenge is to live in such a way that my life will truly show that I believe the music I hear.