In the Bleak Midwinter

Posted: January 4, 2011 in Uncategorized

I awakened today with the verse of Christina Rossetti ricocheting among the synapses.  It was her poem of the incarnation, In the Bleak Midwinter. This poem was originally written to be a carol and has been a part of the Christmas carol canon ever since.

Her words name the season of midwinter, of course, but also go to the depths of what it means for God to overfill the heavens and the earth. And if that is the case, what shall I, mere mortal, offer?

In the Bleak Midwinter
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Christina Rossetti (1872)
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In the bleak mid-winter
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 mid-winter
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 mid-winter
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,
Worshipedthe 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.

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