There was a depressed songwriter who battled the successes of the past and a fear of the future.
He was bankrupt. He had a cerebral hemorrhage that left him partially paralyzed. He worried that the creative spark that had made him rich was gone. He was depressed. He loved the laments of scripture: “O god, why have you forsaken me?”
In the midst of his depression, a man came by who had compiled scriptures together in a semi-orderly fashion. He suggested that the songwriter put some music to the texts.
The writer looked at the text that read, “He was despised and rejected of humanity,” and he felt that way, too.
He read texts of the one for whom “no one had pity.” He read about the one who trusted God still.
He read the words: “I know that my redeemer lives.” He read the words “rejoice” and “hallelujah.”
That night George Frederic Handel was blessed by what can only be described as a divine presence. He was led slowly out of darkness by a desire to write music at a feverish pitch. He worked without stopping for days. Then, with manuscript complete, he dropped into a seventeen-hour, death-like sleep. A doctor was called to see if he was alive.
Out of depression came the light of his work: The Messiah.
Out of that depression he left for us a light that would enliven the lives of countless millions for all ages. Out of that darkness, a man in a deep depression began, as Robert Louis Stevenson said of the lamplighter: “Punching holes in the darkness.”
God offers us the same opportunity.
Jesus, at the end of his life, left us words that we can use as we anticipate the coming of the Christ. “Take heed. Listen. Be awake.” Your salvation, your new beginning, your restoration is at hand.
Your anxiety, your depression, your pain is where God does God’s best work. That is certainly what happened on that first Christmas and it is certainly what can happen in your life.
Be assured that God is coming to do something new in your life this Christmas. Your job is really pretty simple: Show up. Trust. And then proclaim the spark of newness that is given to you.
Who knows what great works are waiting to well up within you?
See you in church,