"In 1741, Handel composed Messiah and what we know now as the Hallelujah Chorus. While designing and composing Messiah, Handel was in debt and deeply depressed; however, the masterpiece was completed in a mere 24 days. Despite his mental and financial state, the Hallelujah Chorus’s birth story is a glorious one. After Handel’s assistant called for him for a few moments, the assistant went to Handel’s work area because he received no response from Handel. Upon entering the room, the assistant saw tears emerge from Handel’s eyes. When the assistant asked why Handel was crying, Handel proclaimed, 'I have seen the face of God,' while lifting up the composition of the Hallelujah Chorus . . ." (Story of the Hallelujah Chorus)
I have read elsewhere that Handel had visions and angel visitations when writing Messiah. After having sung it again today, I am not surprised at all. It is while singing Messiah that I too, more than at any other time, see the face of God. I was struck today that although Handel died more than 2 centuries ago, his work is as alive today as ever; to sing it feels to me almost like transcending time. As with every year, this day is truly Christmas Day for me.