Handel’s Messiah: December 2014

This is a bit of a throwback, but It’s something I meant to post about and never did, so let’s be trendy together and call it nostalgia. Or um vintage. Yeah, way vintage guys. Way.

One of the nicest things about The Boy is that he likes method and tradition and routines. I think this is nice because I appreciate aspects of those things without being able to maintain them myself. Kind of the same way I feel about zookeepers. What a fun job it must be that I will never ever be good at.

Tangent.

My one exception to tradition maintenance is Christmas. I have all the tolerance in the world for Christmas traditions and routines, and also very strong feelings about which ones I like to follow and which ones I will not. That’s the same thing as tolerance, right? Yes. Moving on. Nate only has one Christmas tradition he feels super strongly about, and it was a new one to me: every year, Nate goes to see Handel’s Messiah performed.

(swoon. he’s so classy.)

This was a Pagaard tradition that’s now been inherited by our 2-member Pagaard extension, so we’re keeping it going. Of course, living in Korea limits the opportunity to do so. By ‘limits the opportunity’ I mean there is ONE place in the whole of Korea that annually produces the English version of the Messiah, in a little Methodist church up in Seoul, a 2 hour train-ride north of us. Nate’s gone every year for four years.

(swoon swoon swoon.)

So we took a weekend off in mid-December to see the show and see Seoul lit up for Christmas. The company that does the production is volunteer-based, which means it’s a labor of love. (Let’s just say that this year, there was a lot of love.)

(Our pictures are also a labor of love, in that we similarly have the very best possible intentions. And yet they turn out like this.)

RIP Beard
RIP Beard

Once in Seoul we checked out Myeongdong, one of the bigger shopping areas in Seoul.  It’s insane and busy and packed and fun to wander in–when it’s above freezing.

Don't know that guy. but the pose works.
Don’t know that guy. but the pose works.

Then, gloriously, this happened. I love this place. Some of this stuff was flavored like Ballantyne…scotch? Whiskey? I am ill-equipped to answer this. and there was a Guinness milk chocolate flavor in there too. Neither of them got me tipsy, so don’t worry Mom.

IMG_0043Eventually, we got to the main event.

The choir, gearing up
The choir, gearing up

The church was full. We sat with Koreans and Americans and South Africans and Austrians and all of us were totally captivated by the movement of the music. A few of the instruments weren’t tuned properly. Nate has perfect pitch, and I grew up with people who have perfect pitch pointing things out to me, so it got a little painful at times, but you know what? It was so great. People from everywhere, crammed together, hearing this incredible story of prophecy and fulfillment in Jesus, for us, going on to the end. I’m getting goosebumps a month later, thinking about it.

Christmas isn’t Christmas because of the manger but because of the Cross, and because of the Resurrection and the Ascension and His promise to return.

Behold, I tell you a mystery;
We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed
in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye…

The trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

I want to post all the rest of it. Because it’s just that good. But go here and read it and be reminded of the Truth.

After the Messiah we walked around Seoul to see the lights…

Seoul Christmas Light
Whimsy!
Seoul Christmas Lights 2
Festal Cheer!
Seoul Christmas Lights 3
!!!

 

 

So Festive.

Our hotel was located on this mysterious stretch of road in Seoul between some majorly bustling areas which somehow manages to be completely dead after 9pm. In Seoul, literally one of the largest, fullest-of-people, busiest cities in the whole wide world. Luckily, we found signs of life nearby (Korea has a habit of building soju bars and meat restaurants in close proximity) and ended the night on a delicious note.

Korean side dishes. Nom.
Korean side dishes. Nom.

2014 marked our final winter in Korea, so we’re a little extra aware of everything about it, and extra grateful for everything we get to experience here. It’s weird and amazing to consider where we’ll be hearing the music of the Messiah next December. I can’t wait.

 

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