In The Bleak Midwinter

These dreary days are hard to take especially when we're supposed to be in a festive mood in anticipation for Christmas.  November wasn't as dark and dreary as years past.  We we're fortunate to have near record breaking temperatures and some sunshine.  Despite the sunshine, it now it looks like we're settling in the bleak midwinter. In the Bleak Midwinter by Christin G. Russetti (1830-1894) and Gustav T. Holst (1874-1934) is one of my favorite songs this time of year.  James Taylor's rendition is probably my favorite, but there are many recordings of it.  The song tells the story of the birth of Christ, but not in a sing-song language.  It's almost like a painter's brush using water colors in subtle strokes with soft greys and hints of light.  The melody is lovely, but it's the words that gently bring the birth of our Lord to the light: "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, 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 incarnate Jesus Christ. Enough for him who cherubim Worship night and day, A breastful of milk And a manger ful 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 his mother only, 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." It's that last line that always gets me.  It reminds me that it is all I have to give.  And that's all He really wants of any of us anyway.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE VIDEO

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