December 23, 2012

Something Wonderful: In the Bleak Midwinter

Pause... and begin again.

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.

-- Words: Christina Rossetti, 1872 | Music: Cranham, Gustav T. Holst, 1906

Posted by Vanderleun at December 23, 2012 10:53 AM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

One of the true joys of Christian music and a treasured memory of my days as an Episcopalian/Anglican. Today, as a Primitive Baptist, we have dispensed with the organ and may have less than a dozen at service, but there is less of the horrible baggage that corrupts the main line churches.


Posted by: Pete Mathewson at December 19, 2009 4:32 AM

Didn't make it.

Pauses didn't help.

Settled for the lyrics.

Posted by: Cathy at December 19, 2009 7:22 AM

Thank you for posting this, it is a favorite of mine too. For some reason, it reminds me of something a great writer (Muriel Spark) once said.
She was asked why on earth she became a Christian let alone a Catholic and she replied simply,
"Because it explains me."

Posted by: M.P. Ryan at December 19, 2009 7:53 AM

As lovely once more, this year, especially with the blizzard raging outside my door.

Posted by: Jewel at December 19, 2009 9:46 AM


Growing up Southern Baptist, I didn't know this as a hymn until I was into my thirties. The lovely melody was, though, my high school alma mater.

Blue and Gold we love thee...

Posted by: mezzrow at December 19, 2009 9:57 AM

For me, one of the Jewish faith, I find this appreciation hauntingly holy, tender, loving, and of supreme gratitude. Blessings for all.

Posted by: FamouslyUnknown at December 19, 2009 12:47 PM

Famously Unknown, you are beautiful. Bless you.

We are all poor, in that all we can ever truly give Him is all He asks of us: our hearts.

Posted by: JanB at December 19, 2009 1:55 PM

A favorite of mine, too. Posted it last year. What I miss the most, having left the Episcopal/Anglican church for a more loving and evangelical Congregational congregation. Where the musical repertoire is mostly awful, but the people and preaching inspiring. Don't even get me started on the liturgy, tho. What I wouldn't give for a solemn High Mass (Latin maybe) with bells and smells right now. I cherish down to earth people fervent in their faith, and generous hearted (how not to love people who insist on doing all their good works anonymously?) but one craves mystery, the clouds of incense like prayers up to Heaven. My family call me a superstitious peasant...Merry Christmas!

Posted by: retriever at December 24, 2009 8:29 PM

Pete and Retriever, perhaps what you seek is here:

Posted by: The Osprey at December 24, 2009 11:43 PM

This never gets old, Gerard. Merry Christmas to you and a Happy New Year, too.

Posted by: Jewel at December 25, 2009 8:52 AM

Thank you for posting. My favorite poetess. Beautiful music.

Posted by: Flyover Pilgrim at December 12, 2010 5:10 PM

Good Lord. I just thought of that and have it playing, and was going to drop the link in again and ask you to put it up again...

Well played, Mr. VanderLeun.

Posted by: Mikey NTH at December 12, 2010 5:33 PM

@ retriever.... Try and visit any Orthodox Church, there you may find what you are looking for..

Posted by: Joseph at December 12, 2010 6:34 PM

Way better than presidential kibble, sir.

Posted by: Jewel at December 13, 2010 12:54 AM

retriever - if you are still out there - just give your church a copy of the 1940 Episcopal Hymnal, the little one I have at home.

All of the good is in there before the church became a mere socio-political pressure group. The Gramscian March caught an institution - and to the Gramscian amazement, the institution died, and its influence has died with it.

Such a surprise - not.

Posted by: Mikey NTH at December 15, 2010 7:36 PM

Bleak Midwinter is one of my very favorite poems "water like a stone". Happy Yule my fneird and may this resting time lead to wonder and joy.

Posted by: Sunita at January 3, 2013 5:53 PM