Tonight I stood in the kitchen with my 10-year-old daughter; I kneaded bread rhythmically on the counter while she prepared pumpkin for the first time, scooping out seeds, cutting carefully into cubes to be steamed.  We had music playing in the corner, Handel's masterpiece "Messiah" emanating from a  pink Barbie CD player.   Nevermind that my daughter was in charge of the pumpkin because she'd poked holes in it with a pencil (a smiley face, but now it wouldn't store through the winter) or that it was 11pm and both of us would have liked to been asleep.  Some days the schedule just goes out the window.  But as I showed her what to do - and not do!- then watched while she eagerly and carefully cut the pumpkin- I had the feeling I think every mother gets every now and again.  The feeling that this  is what life is about.  Joy in learning.  Joy in being with family.  Joy in seeing abilities and confidence bloom in someone you love.  Joy in working together, in passing skills on to the next generation, and in helping them see the results of honest effort.  Joy in beautiful music and gratitude for those who created such uplifting works.  Joy in my Savior, his life and example.    
Joy to the world!  -for all these joys are available to everyone to some degree.
If you'd like to hear the whole Messiah- which is the best way to hear and understand its message- here you go.
Notice the music above is over two hours long... it's the entire work.  Handel wrote this in only 24 days- hundreds of pages of music for choir and instruments. It was written to help the listeners understand more about Jesus Christ, the Messiah.  The lyrics are taken directly from the Old and New Testament, and go through His life, from before his birth, clear through his sufferings, Atonement, resurrection, and glory.  A good, short video giving some of the background can be found here, or see a fantastic blog post here.  I love to feel the power of the music and the message.    At one point while this music was being composed, a friend came to visit and found Handel sobbing with emotion after writing the Hallelujah chorus. Handel is quoted as saying "I did think I did see all heaven before me and the great God himself."   It is customary to stand while that chorus is sung... but did you know the chorus is referring to Christ's Second Coming?  The scriptures this chorus comes from are Revelations 19:6, 16, and 11:15.  It, like the "Christmas" song Joy To the World (which Handel wrote the music for), are really a celebration of the future day when Christ rules as the righteous King of kings. (You can read more about the background of the custom of standing here.)
  He signed the work "S.D.G":  Soli Deo gloria, or "glory to God alone".

Most people claim the best-known bit, the "Hallelujah Chorus", as their favorite, but the two below are my favorites.
 


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