Handel’s magnificent musical, Messiah, has been a source of joyful inspiration for me during Advent this year. Facing bankruptcy and failing health George Frederic Handel wrote with “a heart bursting with joy,” The Messiah in 24 days. When he finished writing the Hallelujah chorus he said, “I did think I did see all heaven before me, and the great God himself.” After hearing The Messiah, John Wesley said, “I doubt if that congregation was ever so serious at a sermon as they were during this performance.”

The key phrase is “heart bursting with joy.” Failing health, bankruptcy that would have resulted in imprisonment, Handel lived and wrote with joy. Although Christmas is a very joyful time of the year, we all know people who grieve, suffer, and face difficult challenges in their lives. How many times have we heard someone say about a loss, disappointment, or grief, “… and it happened at Christmas.”

If you are hurting this Christmas, God grieves with you. “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” (Psalm 34:18, NLT) God will heal us in community and in time. Capture the memories, good and bad, by writing them down. Share those memories with people you know and trust that will pray with you. “Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2, NLT)

Above all remember, “The Lord loves you.” (2 Thessalonians 2:13, NIrV)


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