The glory of Handel’s Messiah seems to burst through and wrap itself around the spirit of Christmas. When my older children were just four or five, I think I can say it was the first Christmas music they latched onto, and they would sing along with “Wonderful! Counselor! The mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace!” and mean every word.
In college, a peer introduced me for the first time to the idea that the Lord had inspired and used sacred music through time to convey truths to the world, from the illiterate to the wealthy patrons of art. Whenever I hear the Messiah, I’m sure this must be true.
The word that in English is often used as the equivalent of "wahoo!" comes from Hebrew hall lû-y h, or "praise Yahweh."
The Picture Book:
Try reading this one with your kids: Handel, Who Knew What He Liked, by M.T. Anderson with pictures by Kevin Hawkes. The book, a Boston Globe-Horn Book award winner, beautifully summarizes Handel’s life and career, and the artwork is fantastic. It culminates with his inspiration to compose The Messiah. Not only does the book explain who Handel was and how the music for The Messiah came about, but it also shows how one person rose to success and dealt with failure. Libraries file this book under nonfiction, or you can order it from Amazon for about seven dollars.