Sunday, December 11, 2011


Rose House - Our Beloved Home 
It's our last Christmas season in this house. We have spent twenty Christmases here, parties of people, family, Christmas Eve sleepovers, Christmas  morning gift opening, Christmas day dinners. We will sell our home soon. That's the plan. At our most objective, Christine and I know this is the right thing for us to do. Emotionally, like tonight, we don't feel like proceeding.

The fireplace flames leap with their warmth to reach us where we sit. Christine and I are alone tonight, two weeks before Christmas. The stereo is cranked and playing Handel's Messiah. Our Christmas festivities truly commence with this audit of the scriptural account of God's promised comfort, the revelation of the Comforter and the passion of the Christ who himself could find no one to comfort him on that night of his betrayal and crucifixion.

Today was an event-filled Sunday. A youth pastor was inducted into service at our church. In the afternoon Christine and I toured an open house in a complex of new townhomes. Then for supper we joined our family of children and grandchildren and a number of other children - friends of our grandson Kale who today celebrated his 7th birthday at the Spaghetti Factory.

Two grandsons Jayden and Kale born in the same year with birthdays one month apart, belong to my daughter Cari (and Tim) and my son Jeff (and Gina).

Rose House, we enjoy roses
This has been a good day and yet filled with pockets of varied emotion. And tonight at the fireside I note to myself that we will not be here next year. Rose House will not be ours. We will have sold it and relocated somewhere - a location unknown to us now. But we have always been people who trusted the Messiah, so we will trust Him about this as well.

Christine and I have lived in BC for 21 years. We came from Toronto where we lived for nine years when I pastored a church in Scarborough. In that church were a couple of elderly women who loved to treat Christine and I occasionally to a dinner out. It was their annual Christmas gift to us to take us for dinner in downtown Toronto and then to a performance of Handel’s Messiah with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and the Toronto Symphony at the Roy Thompson Hall. Year after year the four of us did this wonderful evening together. We loved it. Then we moved to BC and since that time over two decades ago, Christmas in our home has begun with our playing of the CDs of that outstanding oratorio.
Handel’s Messiah is an oratorio, not an opera.   Handel’s Messiah is a well regarded and popular piece of choral literature and an oratorio is not everyone’s choice of music you have all been exposed to some music from the Messiah. The music is exquisite but the best part for me is the text because it is Biblical.  With most sacred oratorios while the themes may be biblical, they do not exclusively use Biblical texts. The Messiah does do that, skillfully, brilliantly, movingly. This marriage of words and music can cause listeners to tremble in admiration of God. Handel’s Messiah is a reflective commentary on God’s Promise consisting of Christ’s Incarnation, His Passion and His Resurrection. There are three oratorio parts.The first part emphasizes that"unto us a child is born."  The second part from Handel’s Messiah uses. “Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world ” (John 1:29). Then the third part is such an encouraging and triumphant reminder of our hope.  “I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth.  For now is Christ is risen from the dead, the first-fruits of them that sleep” (Job 19:25).

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