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I have been enjoying Handel’s Messiah during my commute for the past few weeks.  I’ve always loved the “Hallelujah Chorus,” but prior to this year had not paid much attention to the many other beautiful songs that are part of Messiah.

One of my favorites is “Rejoice Greatly.”  Here’s a performance I found on youtube (there are several to choose from):

I liked the Spanish subtitles.  I couldn’t find one on youtube with English subtitles.

The text is taken from Zacharias 9:9-10.  Here are the words:  “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion.  Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, thy King cometh unto thee! He is the righteous Saviour, and He shall speak peace unto the heathen.”

I was not aware until recently that the text for Messiah was written by Charles Jenner (and not Handel).  I believe most if not all of the text is taken from biblical passages.

I’ll add more links to other favorite Christmas music in the next few days.

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I was able to see an early screening of Invictus on Monday night with my family.  Invictus is the story of Nelson Mandela’s becoming president of South Africa and his efforts to unite a country divided by many years of apartheid.  President Mandela is an amazing man, and I am impressed with his leadership, his ability to forgive, his work ethic, and the kindness that he appeared to show to everyone.  Check out the movie and let me know what you think.

Coincidentally, I have been reading a book called Willpower Is Not Enough:  Why We Don’t Succeed at Change by Dr. A. Dean Byrd and Dr. Mark Chamberlain.  The first chapter of this book quotes the poem Invictus that is written by William Ernest Henley.  In the movie, the poem is a source of inspiration for Nelson Mandela; however, in the book about willpower, the authors cite the poem to illustrate that often our efforts to change ourselves require more than just being the “captain of [our] soul” as the poem suggests.

There are many valuable insights in this little book (181 pages including the index).  This is one of my favorite quotes:  “When it comes to changing our lives, our energy is often better spent in setting the sail than in rowing the boat.”

I can relate well to this image of myself in a small boat, vigorously rowing through the challenges of life, trying by my own measely effort to change myself into the person that I want to be.  Navigating this course by sheer willpower is not enough.  Instead of trying to control every aspect of our lives, the authors suggest that we are often much better off if we “set the sail to pick up the winds of God’s power.”  We access God’s power in our lives by first seeking to learn his will and then striving to be submissive to it.

I have not yet finished the book but have found many worthwhile insights.  I highly recommend this book for anyone that has struggled to achieve the lasting change in their life that they desire.