Nitiraj Original Incense - Finally back in stock
from: Susan Hale

Reflections on the Messiah

\\\"Lift Up Thy Voice with Strength
Be Not Afraid\\\"

These words from the Bible have been reverberating within me these last several days after singing Handel\\\'s Messiah. I am keeping a family tradition. Every year my mother sang in the Messiah. When I was very young I remember being so bored I drew the faces of the choir members on the program of the First Presbyterian Church in Hanford, California. Then, as a teenager something shifted and the music took root.

Layers of memories flood me now as I sit in the alto section of the Presbyterian Church in Hendersonville, North Carolina. I remember my mother with her score in hand standing and singing. I remember the comforting voice of the alto who sang \\\"He Shall Lead His Flock Like a Shepherd\\\" and the bass soloist whose face was always red. He wore a toupee that looked like it was lacqued to his head. These faces and voices are gone. They are replaced by the man in the green bow tie and red sweater and the old woman with the jingle bell earrings sitting next to me. We are all family now in the music.

I remember visiting my mother in a nursing home over Christmas many years ago. She could barely speak. My brother and I talked to her about our lives. She listened with a blank face. I held her hands and sang the \\\"Hallelujah Chorus\\\" and she looked up and sang a few notes with me. We danced there together with our eyes as she sat in her wheelchair. This was the most meaningful Christmas gift I received that year, a present moment shared in a timeless song.

Her voice echoes through me now as I sing the Messiah. I feel her presence. She is happy I am here. I have carried on a song tradition passed from mother to daughter and pass this remembrance as a gift to you. Whatever you are met with now, during this season of gathering darkness and returning light, I wish you strength and fearlessness to lift up your voices with courage and sing what is in your heart.

\\\"Lift up thy voice with strength. Be not afraid.
Arise! Shine! For thy light is come!\\\"

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