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Sunday, December 16, 2018

In the Bleak Midwinter

It's time once again to re-post this beautiful Christmas carol.  I never grow tired of it.  I hope you haven't either!  Click the links at the bottom of the post to hear something lovely.

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Christmas is almost here and I cannot let it come and go without sharing (yet again) a favorite Christmas carol.   Somehow I managed to live over five decades completely unaware of this wonderful song.  But several years into the 21st Century my ignorance was remedied at last.

The text was originally a beautiful poem written by the English poet, Christina Rossetti (1830-1894) and was later set to music as a Christmas carol titled In the Bleak Midwinter.   Rossetti's poem follows, and below that are three links for those who want to listen and enjoy.

Strasbourg Cathedral, France


A Christmas Carol
Christina Rossetti, 1872

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
Worshiped 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.

As author Emilie Griffin describes in Wonderful and Dark is This Road, page 99:
In one of her best-known poems....Christina Rossetti expresses her deep love of God. Her poem looks beyond Christmas to the Second Coming of Christ, "when he comes to reign." She draws contrasts between heaven and earth, riches and poverty. Rossetti's devotion to Christ is shown intensely in her last stanza.
You can hear it sung by the Gloucester Cathedral Choir HERE.
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir HERE.
And HERE is a gorgeous version by Susan Boyle (apologies for the noisome ad that pops up first).

3 comments:

  1. A wonderful Christmas Carol. My wife listens to this every year, it is one of her favorites. Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful new week.

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  2. Such a beautiful piece to listen to. I never grow tired of it, either.

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  3. That was magic Sara thank you for posting

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