Countdown to “The Messiah”: Week 4 of 7

Posted by on Nov 26, 2017 in Choirs (Music), EventReminder, Worship & Prayer | 0 comments

“For Unto Us a Child is Born”…

On December 17 2017 our choir will be joined by other local choirs to present Part 1 of Handel’s The Messiah. This will be our annual Christmas Cantata (which will be held at the traditional time of 4:15 PM… in our sanctuary). The Tapestry String Quartet along with our own Sue Crispin will play the accompaniment. Jack Rowland will pull everything together by directing the music.

The “Christmas Part” of Handel’s famous oratorio is organized around a series of six Choruses (which are sung by the full choir). A set of solos introduce each chorus. In most cases, there are two solos; one is called a Recitative and the second is called an Air.

The Christmas section of the oratorio actually consists of six choruses, and the Hallelujah Chorus ends the Easter section. But- who could resist- we will end our Christmas cantata with the Hallelujah Chorus.

In the weeks leading up to our December 17 Cantata, we will provide weekly “Countdown to The Messiah” articles highlighting one of the seven Choruses that comprise the cantata.

This installment highlights the fourth chorus, “For Unto Us a Child is Born.”


Here’s a list of the 7 Choruses that are in “The Messiah.” Links to previously posted choruses are provided…

  1. And the Glory of the Lord
  2. And He Shall Purify
  3. O Thou that Tellest Good Tidings 
  4. For Unto Us a Child is Born
  5. Glory to God
  6. His Yoke is Easy and His Burthen is Light
  7. Hallelujah Chorus


Chorus 4 of 7: “For Unto Us a Child is Born”


The Angels have appeared.  They tell the shepherds that they’ve got some great news.  And then they proclaim the good news that a Savior is being born to us.  But before we can celebrate the good news about Jesus, we need to remember why He is coming.  Sin has blackened the earth and separated us from God.  The people are walking (and living) in darkness (and sin). 

And so, when Jesus comes upon the earth, it’s like that dark morning when you squint after turning on the bedroom light.

The two Bass solos that precede the chorus “For Unto Us a Child is Born” give us a picture of the great Light that has burst into our darkness:

  1. Recitative:   “For Behold, Darkness Shall Cover the Earth
  2. Air:                 “The People that Walked in Darkness

These lyrics are based on Isaiah 9:1-3.  Here’s how King James puts it:

Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations.

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.

Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.

Aware of the Darkness, we can now look into the great Light.



The Message

Most of the words of these choruses are very familiar; they come right out of the Bible. But we’re used to the King James words, and sometimes the familiarity with the words blocks us from fully appreciating their meaning. And so, the below summary of our Weekly Chorus uses Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase, The Message. The following document summaries the solos leading into the chorus and then it gives some context to the meaning…



The Music

Here’s a video of this week’s chorus…


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For more about this year’s production of The Messiah, see the below post…

Choirs to Present Handel’s Messiah! (12/17/17)


For more info about our choirs, click this button: Choir







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