Although its structure resembles that of opera, it is not in dramatic form; there are no impersonations of characters and no direct speech. Instead, Jennens's text is an extended reflection on Jesus Christ as Messiah. After the rather general introduction, Scene 3 addresses Isaiah's specific prophecy about the virgin birth of a Messiah by expanding more verses from different chapters of the prophet.
From the perspective of reflection during Advent, these masterpieces provide some beautiful settings of Isaiah's prophecies for meditation.
Behold, a virgin shall conceive
"Behold, a virgin shall conceive" (Isaiah 7:14) is rendered in a short alto recitative, to be "called Emmanuel", translated to "God – with us", sung with a rest after "God". This very prophecy is quoted in the Gospel of Matthew (Matthew 1:23).
O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion
As if the good news was spreading, the solo alto begins "O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion" (Isaiah 40:9), and is taken over by the chorus.
The people that walked in darkness
Although the text "The people that walked in darkness" is taken from a different chapter of Isaiah (Isaiah 9:2), Handel treats the aria as a continuation of the accompagnato by similar motifs.
For unto us a Child is born
The choir concludes the scene, telling the news of Christmas, the birth of a son, "For unto us a Child is born", in Isaiah's words (Isaiah 9:6).