Snow is falling on this beautiful winter day. Merry Christmas to the new calendarists and Advent greetings to my fellows on the old calendar.
Fitting for the day is one of my favorite carols, “In the Bleak Midwinter.” Here is the choir of King’s College in Cambridge singing Gustav Holst’s “Cranham” setting for Christina Rossetti’s lovely poem:
Here also is a video of Julie Andrews in a Christmas special from A.D. 1973.
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,
Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels fall before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.
Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, 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.
The sweet little song reminds me of the uncanny power of poetry. It can be so simple, but the images that it deftly evokes move one’s soul in a fascinating manner.
Enjoy the festive season.