Every Valley: Advent with the Scriptures of Handel's Messiah

Every Valley: Advent with the Scriptures of Handel's Messiah

by Albert L. Blackwell
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Every Valley: Advent with the Scriptures of Handel's Messiah by Albert L. Blackwell

Handel's Messiah is one of the most beloved musical works of the western world, playing an especially sentimental role in many people's Christmas traditions. The libretto of the work, taken directly from the King James text of fourteen books of the Bible, has turned many otherwise forgettable phrases into memorable, singable, cherished lines of Scripture.

This gift-worthy book will delight and inspire classical music fans and those for whom Messiah is a beloved Christmas tradition with essays exploring the theological, historical, and pastoral implications of the Scriptures that make up Handel's Messiah.

Forty reflections journey in order through the oratorio, taking the reader deeper into less-often studied texts like Malachi 3:3 and bringing new light to oft-recited passages like Luke 2:9-14. Each reflection offers the libretto from Messiah, the same passage in NRSV, and a brief commentary on the text, written by a respected scholar or pastor. Readers can peruse the book at leisure or examine one reflection per day throughout the Advent and Christmas seasons.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780664259983
Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press
Publication date: 09/26/2014
Pages: 160
Sales rank: 852,023
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Albert L. Blackwell is the Reuben B. Pitts Professor Emeritus of Religion at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. He is the founder of The Piedmont Resource Center, and received Furman's Meritorious Teaching Award in 1977. He also serves as director of the choir at St. James Episcopal Church in Greenville.

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Every Valley: Advent with the Scriptures of Handel's Messiah 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
lolly-pops More than 1 year ago
My thoughts: IN EVERY VALLEY is a devotional series set around Handel’s Messiah celebrating the Advent season. Divided up into parts, Part 1 is: Christ’s Birth and Its Foretelling; Part 2 is: Christ’s Passion and Resurrection; and Part 3: Christ’s Eternal Reign. Each part is divided up into movements. Scripture references are included and written in the devotional so readers don’t have to look them up. This is a good book to have on hand and read during the Advent season – or at any time of the year, really, since the second part is good for the Easter season and the third part as we look forward to his second coming. A great book. 4 stars.
WildflowerMom More than 1 year ago
This is an interesting set of readings for Advent based on the Scripture from Handel's Messiah. Not a light and fluffy feel good devotional, but one that gives a lot of food for thought. Handel's Messiah is hands down one of my favorite classical works, so reading a devotional based on the Scripture was such a lovely idea to me. After a thorough introduction to the work, the reader is given a list of the libretto and the Scripture it's based on. Each day's selection includes the words from the piece, then the whole section of verses it comes from. I loved this part! It was wonderful to read it in the context of the actual Bible verses it was taken from. I had no idea where some of it was located, like the aria My Redeemer Liveth is from the book of Job. The devotion for the day includes contextual and cultural background to the section, then an application. It was interesting reading, made me think and put it into perspective for today. There were deep spiritual insights in some, and left me feeling hopeful, which was uplifting for this time of year especially. The writing took a bit of concentration for me to get through sometimes, but a few nuggets of truth could be found in each. It has an ecumenical feel to it, appealing to Christians of many denominations. Recommend to readers looking for a deeper spiritual read for Advent. It would make a nice gift for a Christian musician. (Book provided by NetGalley and the John Knox Press in exchange for an honest review.)
ETrupkiewicz More than 1 year ago
Who hasn't heard the lovely musical strains of Handel's Messiah (or a movement thereof) piped overhead in stores during the holiday season? At times haunting and celebratory, and always evocative, blessedly familiar yet refreshingly new, the Baroque composition, which Jonathan Kandell of Smithsonian Magazine calls "a musical rite of the holiday season," is undoubtedly one of the most popular oratorios of all time. Now, prepare for the Christmas season and celebrate the whole way through with the nonfiction forty-day devotional EVERY VALLEY: ADVENT WITH THE SCRIPTURES OF HANDEL'S MESSIAH by Albert L. Blackwell (with due credit, of course, given to Handel himself). Advent is a Roman Catholic tradition in which the four Sundays before Christmas Day, along with the days between, are treated as reminders of what led up to the birth of Christ (from the Old Testament in the Bible) and, even further, reminders of the death and resurrection of Christ (Easter) and of His second coming (recounted in the New Testament Book of Revelation). This engaging work walks the reader through forty days' worth of Scripture and devotional readings, each expertly culled from the Scriptures that Handel chose as his inspirations for his spectacular oratorio. Blackwell includes references to the different movements of the oratorio with each devotional, so that the reader can (if he or she chooses) take time to listen to the designated movement before, during, or after reading the related Scripture. Blackwell's writings expound with exegetical clarity and accuracy upon the verses cited, drawing from other well-known Christian commentators like John Calvin; seasonally appropriate hymns; and other Scriptures, especially where Handel used prophetic words by Isaiah, Haggai, and others in the Old Testament to foretell the coming of Christ. Themes explored throughout include the Christian life and disciplines, the doctrine of grace, redemption, forgiveness, sanctification, light against darkness, and many, many more. You needn't be Catholic to participate in Advent. Simply commit to recognizing that the Christmas season isn't about Santa Claus, snowmen, and commercialism, and take time to remember the real reason for the season (to use a phrase that has admittedly become quite cliche in the modern world). An excellent way to keep your faith engaged and growing during Advent is to pick up a devotional like EVERY VALLEY, which work in particular I cannot recommend highly enough. You'll find your faith stretched, your relationship with God more intimate than ever. As for me, I will certainly participate in the forty-day plan set forth in EVERY VALLEY, and I'd like to invite you along. Join me for the journey to prepare for Christmas a little differently, this year. # # # Author: George Frederic Handel and Albert L. Blackwell Title: EVERY VALLEY: ADVENT WITH THE SCRIPTURES OF HANDEL'S MESSIAH ISBN: 978-0-66425-998-3 Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this work from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
VillaSyl More than 1 year ago
Handel's Messiah is one of the most beloved musical works of the western world, playing an especially sentimental role in many people's Christmas traditions. The work, taken directly from the King James text has turned many, otherwise forgettable phrases, into memorable, singable, cherished, lines of Scripture. Every Valley is a 40-day Advent devotional based upon the Bible verses that comprise the text of Handel's Messiah. Each chapter begins with the text and concludes with a meditation on those verses. Everything from long-ago history to current events is utilized in the understanding of the text. A gift worthy book. I received a copy of eBook from Westminster John Knox Press through Net Galley for my review.