Expectant Prayers ®

Jennifer Jo Weiss

Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

Here in Kansas City,  Handel's  "Messiah" was often a part of Christmas tradition for many metro families. Performed for years at a local church, the production was made up of local musicians, some local celebrities, and many, many local church choirs.  A few years ago, the productions were ceased, due largely in part to the growing cost.  This has been a sad void in the metro during the Christmas season.

Yesterday, as I went about my daily work, God began speaking to me about listening to my "Messiah" CD.  All weekend, the Lord worked on me to restore joy and praise to my spirit.  Now He was urging me to listen to the "Messiah"?  You should know that having a classical musical background and being a former orchestra member myself, this music does stir me!   OK... so where was the CD???  I found it pretty quickly in a bag in the hall tree bench nestled together with other various Christmas albums.  So, away I went, portable CD player in tow and headphones plastered over my ears... enraptured with the majesty and overall spirit of what I was hearing.   Then the words began to penetrate deep within me.   This man knew grief... and in his grief... must have been immersed in God's presence!  This man understood what I was feeling...     and I'd heard this music a hundred times... even sang in "Messiah" productions myself... but it was like hearing it for the first time!

"Comfort ye, comfort ye... my people"

'"The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light"

"Every valley... shall be exalted... and the rough places straight... the crooked straight"

There it was; and verse after verse that the Lord has shown me during these past 2 weeks of trial were there within the songs!  I was amazed and knew it was something miraculous and divine!

This morning I was determined to remember the history of this great piece and the story of Handel.  I got online and found the following description:

The composer was in despair.  Struggling to earn a living in London, he knew days when he could not afford to buy meals.  One night in 1741, depressed and defeated, he wandered the lonely streets; it was almost dawn when he returned to his shabby room.  On a table was a thick envelope.  It was from Charles Jennens, the man who wrote his librettos.  Examining the pages, he found them covered with Scripture texts.

Wearily, he tossed the pages aside and crawled into bed, but he couldn't sleep.  The word of the Scriptures he had just read kept returning to him.

Too stirred to sleep, he got up and went to his piano.  The music flowed from his heart- rich, majestic, triumphant!  He began to write.  Night and day for three weeks, he wrote feverishly.  He forgot sleep, food, and rest.  He refused to see anyone.  At last, on the day the work was finished, one friend managed to gain entrance.

The composer was at his piano, sheets of music strewn around him, tears streaming down his face.  " I DO BELIEVE I HAVE SEEN ALL HEAVEN BEFORE ME, AND THE GREAT GOD HIMSELF", he exclaimed.

The first audience to hear the composition, in Dublin in 1742, gave it the greatest ovation in the city's history.  Weeks later, London heard it for the first time, and again it was a triumph.  The King was so impressed during the Hallelujah Chorus that he rose to his feet, a custom that still prevails today.

The message of faith and hope found in the "Messiah" has stirred my spirit today.   The presence of the Lord felt during the time I listened to it yesterday has not left me!     

All I can say is "Hallelujah, Hallelujah"!   

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