In The Bleak MidWinter

1. 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 on snow, In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

2. Our God, Heav'n cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain; Heav'n and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign. In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

3. Enough for Him, whom cherubim, worship night and day, Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay; Enough for Him, whom angels fall down before, Ox and ass and camel which adore.

4. Angels and archangels may have gathered there, Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air; But His mother only, in her maiden bliss, Worshiped the beloved with a kiss.

5. 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 can I give Him: give my heart.

These lyrics are rather obscure, though quite beautiful. The earth (which represents all of God's promises to His People, Gen 13:14-15, Rom 4:13-17, Mt 5:5) and the water (which represents Baptism and forgiveness, Jn 3:5, Eph 5:25-27, 1Pt 3:21) are frozen and lifeless as the Law reigns alone (2Cor 3:6b), with no grace flowing before Christ. The Spirit (the wind) works in the world through the condemnation of the Law and the hope for redemption to come (frosty wind made moan, Micah 4:10, Ez 21:6-7). Then Christ humbly comes to melt the icy world in grace. This then inspires those saved, who recognize that they have nothing to give to Him, to finally, through His grace, fulfill the greatest commandment (Mt 22:37).

Words: Christina Georgina Rossetti, 1872, alt. Music and
Setting: 'Cranham' Gustav Theodore Holst, 1906, alt.
copyright: public domain. This score is a part of the Open Hymnal Project, 2011 Revision.

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