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Tag Archives: George Frideric Handel

Saved by a Button

While most industries have been ravaged by the Coronavirus, Television Streaming Services have expanded and prospered. Although not every service has survived this competitive field, consumers can now decide what they watch and when daily. The days of waiting for your favorite show or series to air are over unless of course you want to watch a live sporting event. During a recent episode of Mystery at the Museum, I learned that a famous composer’s life was saved by a button on his tunic before he’d ever written a note.

He personally bore our sins in His [own] body on the tree [as on an altar and offered Himself on it], that we might die (cease to exist) to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed, 1 Peter 2:24.

George Frideric Handel was performing of one of Matheson’s operas, Cleopatra, in 1704. Playing with his best friend, composer Johann Mattheson, the two of them suddenly argued while on stage. This quarrel escalated into a sword fight, a duel to the death. Immediately, Mattheson quickly took control, placing Handel on the defensive. As the audience watched in amazement, Mattheson gave the final blow, striking Handel in the chest. However, as the sword was about to pierce Handel’s skin, a large button on his tunic intervened, snapping the tip of Mattheson’s sword. This wardrobe malfunction ended this duel and saved Handel’s life.

For you were going astray like [so many] sheep, but now you have come back to the Shepherd and Guardian (the Bishop) of your souls, 1 Peter 2:25.

Whether you call this luck or divine intervention, George Frideric Handel now had the time to compose The Hallelujah Chorus. King George III was so moved by Handel’s Messiah he stood up during this piece, at the premiere. Most of Handel’s adult life was spent in London, England, offered a position by Queen Anne with the princely annual salary of £200. Composing The Messiah in 1741, a scriptural text was later compiled by Charles Jennens from the King James Bible to enhance Handel’s piece. This amazing selection would have been never composed if it wasn’t for a large button strategically placed on George Frideric Handel’s tunic.

by Jay Mankus


The Source of Affection

Love is absent from the title of traditional Christmas Carols. While Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol in 1843. the oldest Christmas Carol song dates back to 336 AD. St. Hilary of Poitiers composed Jesus Illuminates All which was initially the Latin carol “Jesus refulsit omnium.” Although it’s unclear what inspired St. Hilary to write this song, 336 was the first recorded year when the Church first recognized December 25th as Jesus’ birthday.

So I write these things while I am absent from you, that when I come to you, I may not have to deal sharply in my use of the authority which the Lord has given me [to be employed, however] for building [you] up and not for tearing [you] down, 2 Corinthians 13:10.

Wrapping up his final letter to the Church at Corinth, the apostle Paul recognizes why people of faith should celebrate the birth of Christ. According to Paul, Jesus is the source of affection and love. Building upon his words in 1 Corinthians 13, God is love in it’s various forms. While reading Psalm 98, 96:11–12 and Genesis 3:17–18, Isaac Watts wrote the classic hymn Joy to the World. George Frideric Handel put the finishing touches on the modern version of Joy to the World before his death in 1759.

Finally, brethren, farewell (rejoice)! Be strengthened (perfected, completed, made what you ought to be); be encouraged and consoled and comforted; be of the same [agreeable] mind one with another; live in peace, and [then] the God of love [Who is the Source of affection, goodwill, love, and benevolence toward men] and the Author and Promoter of peace will be with you, 2 Corinthians 13:11.

The older I get, the meaning of Christmas to me has evolved. As a child, Christmas was about attending a mass that ended at midnight. When I couldn’t sleep, I took a nap under our tree, eager to open my presents. Yet, now as a parent, I’m more focused on what I give. In college I wrote Christmas letters to encourage and inspire my friends. Now as a father, I feel compelled to give of my time after working 22 of the last 25 days. While my gifts may not always be well received, a relationship with God is the greatest gift of all.

by Jay Mankus

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