Saturday, February 5, 2011

In the Bleak Midwinter

The following poem by Christina Rossetti (1872) is perhaps best known to us as a beautiful carol sung at Christmastime. And with the Christmas season officially past, my posting of it is late, liturgically speaking.

But when I awake as I did this morning, to an unexpected 4-5 inch fresh blanket of snow, atop a 2-3 inch layer of ice and snow from recent days, and flakes are still gently falling, the line "snow on snow" immediately comes to my mind.

I looked up the poem and read it, with the familiar tune singing in my head. The first stanza paints the scene we awoke to today; those following how Our Lord the Infant King came to this earth in just such a scene, His own Dear Mother, shepherds and kings adoring him, and how I might as well.

Certainly we are beyond this scene on the liturgical calendar, but on the calendar of our hearts it is always time to consider our own love and adoration of Him who came to us one bleak midwinter; today's lovely snowfall brings it to my mind again.

In the Bleak Midwinter
By Christina Rossetti

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,
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.

* * *

God bless you!

1 comment:

Peklet Mom said...

Oh I love that poem. When I was in high school we sang a beautiful all girls arrangement. Brings back memories and reminds me again, as you said, of how our dear Lord came into this world and how we should adore him evermore.

God bless,
Peklet Mom