Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Burst of Light

Do you know the story of George Frideric Handel's Messiah? I didn't, until recently and it has touched my heart. What had once just been beautiful music to me, is now an amazing ray of light that burst from a darkened spirit when that spirit was touched by our Savior's love...

Handel was never really a great success. He struggled for years to write successful operas. Not for lack of his talent, he just seemed to be writing the wrong things at the wrong times. Eventually, in 1741, after overcoming a serious stroke which temporarily paralyzed his right arm and in the midst of creditors knocking down his door, he gave what he thought would be his farewell performance. He felt completely empty with nothing left to give.

Not long afterward a former collaborator, Charles Jennens, presented him with a manuscript filled with scripture about Jesus Christ, asking Handel to compose an oratorio. Handel was hesitant but from the first words, "Comfort Ye", his heart was touched. Three weeks later, THREE WEEKS LATER, he finished the Messiah! "Upon completing his composition, he humbly acknowledged, 'God has visited me.'"

As you listen to this recording, imagine Handel, in the darkest of moments, the depths of despair, completely empty, with nothing left to give, opening up his heart and mind to the powerful truths given to him in this inspiring music. This is not his work, it is the work of God. It was a gift to his son, George Frideric Handel, who needed Him. Who needed to know that all was not lost. Who needed to know that he was still loved and watched over and important and talented and worth all the Savior suffered for him. And now countless numbers of our Father's children have felt the power of Handel's gift. It was a gift to all of us because all of us need to be reminded of our Savior's powerful love on a regular basis. This music, as I wrote before, is as a ray of light bursting through the darkness in Handel's heart. A light that can only come from our Savior Jesus Christ.

Listen now to a small portion of this brilliant light that dispelled the darkness from around Handel...

I loved the energy of this group and I loved the different groups of people singing and the smiles on some of their faces and I loved that at the beginning of the performance, the audience stood out of respect for this piece of music.

Here's the thing...Handel felt broken, lonely, lost, forgotten, empty. I have felt all of those feelings before. I think it is safe to say that every single person who will read this has felt those feelings before. It is also safe to say that we will ALL feel them again and maybe again and again. How did Handel break out of the chains of darkness? The same way we all can - through the power and hope and LOVE of our Savior Jesus Christ. This same light can burst through our own saddened hearts dispelling the darkness and showing us the beauty of our Father's eternal plan for our happiness.

When has the Savior blessed you with just enough to get through a tough situation? When has He reached down and healed your heart or blessed you with a tender mercy that could have only come from Him? When has he let you know that He knows you and He knows where you are and what is going on in your life? He may not have inspired you to write a famous piece of music, but if you ask Him to help you remember, He'll open your eyes to how involved He has been in your life from the very beginning. As we remember these moments of light,  we will be able to proclaim as did Handel, "God has visited me." For truly He has, more than we know.

Isaiah 9:6
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

King of Kings
Lord of Lords
For He shall reign forever and ever!

My information comes mostly from an article found in the December 2010 issue of the Ensign, a magazine published monthly by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints:

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