Christmas is a real thing

Published 8:36 am Wednesday, December 15, 2021

From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham

Dear Rev. Graham: The war on Christmas is a real thing and it is hard to understand in America, a nation that once respected the message of this holiday. I am a music teacher and was teaching my students about the classic Handel’s Messiah. A few kids were offended and I have been forbidden by the principal, who claims to be a Christian, to teach anything having to do with Jesus, yet He is the reason for the season. How can she be a Christian and deny history? — D.T.

Dear D.T.: True Christianity does not deny any part of the Bible. For more than 270 years, audiences have listened to the magnificent composition performed by great choirs and symphonies, especially during holidays. The text for Handel’s Messiah was chosen by Charles Jennens, friend of the brilliant composer George Frideric Handel, lifted from 1 Timothy 3:16 for the epigraph: “God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up to glory.”
When the oratorio was first performed in 1742, a member of the audience expressed gratitude to Handel for “producing such a wonderful piece of ‘entertainment.'”
“Entertainment!” Handel replied. “My purpose was not to entertain, but to teach them something.” And for centuries now, Handel’s message has resonated in hearts, proclaiming that Jesus is the Lord who died and rose again. A soaring soprano solo in the Messiah masterpiece combines Job 19 and 1 Corinthians 15 to proclaim: I know that my Redeemer liveth… for now is Christ risen from the dead.”
For those who have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, stand faithful in the proclamation of truth and remember Titus 1:9: “Holding fast the faithful word… that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.”
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(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)