Friday, December 12, 2014

Sing Christmas: Dec 12

In the bleak midwinter,
frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Our God, heaven cannot hold Him,
nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away
when he comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter
a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

Enough for him, whom cherubim
worship night and day,
a breastful of milk,
and a mangerful of hay:
enough for him , whom angels
fall down before,
the ox and ass and camel which adore.

Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim
thronged the air;
But only his mother,
in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.

What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd,
I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man,
I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him:
give my heart.

Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)

Christina Rossetti wrote the poem we now sing as a carol for an American monthly magazine, but it wasn’t published as a hymn until 1904, after she died. It is sung to two tunes, one by Gustav Holst and the other by Harold Darke (more suitable for choirs than congregations).
In reality we don’t know when Jesus was born. The date of Christmas was fixed centuries after his birth at what seemed like the most natural time to celebrate the coming of the Light of the World – at the winter solstice, when the world was at its darkest. Rossetti’s snowy, frozen landscape can seem odd for a story set in the Middle East, too, though snow and freezing temperatures are not uncommon in winter there.
Rosetti is painting a picture of tender warmth coming to a world that is desperately in need of it. She contrasts the grandeur of heaven with the simplicity of the stable and the mother’s love for her child at the heart of it. We don’t need to have great wealth, great status,or great intellect to receive this gift from God, and the best gift we can give in return is our own hearts, as we follow the path this child shows us.

·         “What can I give him?”  Do you feel you have anything to give to God, or to the world, through your life? If not, why not?

Bible Reading: When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; what are human beings that you are mindful of them,mortals that you care for them? Psalm 8.3-4

And for those of you who prefer the setting by Harold Darke here it is...



  1. Anonymous9:07 am

    The setting by Darke - wonderful!!! Thank you .

  2. Molehil9:24 am

    The setting by Darke - wonderful!!! Thank you .