To start the advent season this week, a kind friend invited me to a wonderful performance of Handel’s Messiah by the Vancouver Early Music Society.
We sat about 8 rows back center front, so close that I could see the fingers of the string players, the facial lines of the vocalists and the histrionic movements of the conductor.
I was fascinated.
I dissected the contrapuntal harmonies. I evaluated the timbre and score of the authentic period instruments.
I scrutinized the parts. I deconstructed the performance.
I broke the music down into theory and constructs. So much so I sucked the miracle out of the music and left no room in the inn of mystery.
I left no room to ponder these things in my heart.
I overanalyzed the Handel and overlooked the Messiah.
This week we entered the season of jolly fat men in red suits, hoofed mammals that fly, a Caucasian family in a barn with assorted farm animals and royalty, and a large shrub in the living room displaying shiny objects hung randomly.
Plus the accompanying avarice, extended family tolerance and a zillion shrill versions of about 10 songs – this holiday season is ripe for deconstructing and dissecting.
All this depends on how you look at the story of a baby king that came to save the world.
For two thousand years this story has made room in the inn of mystery. Despite our cultural proclivity for comprehension, creating handles on its door to hang our wreaths of surety.
When we try to get a grip on it,
We overanalyze the handle and overlook the Messiah.
The beautiful featured image is courtesy of Julie Jablonski and used with her generous permission for The Cultivating Project.