Introduction and Welcome

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Adoration of the Shepherds - Gerard van Honthorst, Handel's Messiah, Mary's Lullaby - George MacDonald

I like the variety of expressions displayed in this painting of the Adoration of the Shepherds by Gerard van Honthorst, an early 17th century Dutch painter.  It's interesting to note that even though the baby is completely in the light, and he is the source of light in this painting reflected in all the faces - you don't look at the baby much, rather at the expressions and gestures of those who are welcoming him into this lowly world. 
Adoration of the Shepherds by Gerard van Honthorst

Today's performance of Handel's Messiah conducted by Sir Colin Davis is preceded by a short introduction by Verity Sharp. 

This week we'll focus on Part 1-Scene 4, the Annunciation to the Shepherds.  This starts at minute 41:00 but you may want to go back and start from 36:57 if you want to listen to Unto Us a Child is Born again. 

You will find the parts and songs from Handel's Messiah for your reference again at the end of this post.

I found a wonderful Christmas storybook at our library The
Christmas Stories of George MacDonald
.  It has beautiful illustrations by Linda Hill Griffith.  We read the first story last night and it was a lovely story, beautifully written.  I think I'll make this book a Christmas tradition around here.  Our poem today comes from this book:

Mary's Lullaby 
by George MacDonald

Babe Jesus lay in Mary's lap;
The sun shone on his hair;
And this was how she saw, mayhap,
The crown already there.

For she sang:"Sleep on, my little king;
Bad Herod dares not come;
Before thee, sleeping, holy thing,
The wild winds would be dumb.

"For thou art the king of men, my son.
Thy crown I see it plain;
And men shall worship thee, every one,
And cry Glory! Amen."

Babe Jesus opened his eyes so wide!
At Mary looked her Lord.
And Mary ended her song and sighed.
Babe Jesus said never a word.

Speaking of Christmas readings - Librivox has many wonderful Christmas stories read aloud, including collections with poetry. We've listened to The Gift of the Magi and Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol as well as some stories new to us. 

Handel's Messiah (as copied from Wikipedia)

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