in the bleak mid-winter?
I have a problem. I'm addicted to A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor. If you were to ask me what a perfect Saturday night looks like for me I would answer in this way: a glass of wine, my cushiony c. 1940's red leather chair pulled up in the kitchen, and listening to the News from Lake Wobegon.
Particularly at this time of the year, when I can relate to the deep frozen Minnesota winter....even now as I look out at heavy snow falling.....I enjoy listening to Garrison regale me with the odd characters from Lake Wobegon as I consider who they may be in river city. I have to listen in the kitchen since my old Sony boom box from college days is the only radio that picks up WVPE in the house.
A few weeks ago, on his Christmas show, they sang "In the Bleak Mid-Winter". Have you heard this old hymn? It is actually very beautiful. I went looking for it and placed it on my playlist. It reminds me of those cold, dark winter nights where the wind howls and snow blows. Not unlike the last few nights. In the home in which I grew up, my closest neighbor was about a half mile away. I remember looking out across the barren, slumbering fields covered in a white blanket and how at night they had an other-worldly appearance as snow fell and blew across the land in sweeps of life-like rhythm.
The bleak mid-winter? Maybe. But it has a beauty all to itself.
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 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 manger full 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 can I give Him: give my heart.
Lyrics written as a poem by English poet Christina Rosetti prior to 1872 and incorporated into a collection of her works in 1904, and being turned into a Christmas Carol in 1906.