Once again I had the opportunity to attend a performance of Handel’s Messiah. No matter how many times I hear it, the music and the words continue to leave me in awe of what God did for us in sending his son Jesus to redeem us. Yet as I sat in the packed audience, I could not help but wonder how many of those seated in the auditorium missed the message of Jesus Christ being sung that afternoon. I wondered how many only saw this as a beautiful concert that made a nice Christmas tradition.

I have known people who sang in performances of the Messiah or accompanied the choir with a musical instrument. In rehearsal after rehearsal, they repeatedly heard scripture such as Isaiah 40:5, “And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it;” or Luke 2:11, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” They watched audiences stand for the “Hallelujah” chorus where the words from Revelation 11:15 resonated through the auditorium, “…he shall reign forever and ever.” Despite hearing scripture over and over, their hearts remained cold toward Jesus Christ. They remained like those who Paul wrote about in Ephesians 4:18, “…they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him (NLT).”

It reminds me that sometimes the Christmas Story can become too routine or seeped too much in tradition. We can hear the words of scripture about Christ’s birth recited again and again without stopping to truly reflect on the significance of this event. This season be sure to meditate on 1 Corinthians 15:57 sung near the end of the Handel’s Messiah, “But thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Let our Alleluia chorus be a true song of praise for God’s grace in sending his son Jesus to redeem the world.