Sunday

Midwinter Miracles



Throughout the holiday season, Christmas carols echo through halls and malls and even our own heads. Perhaps we find ourselves humming or singing a traditional tune, while hardly paying attention.

With the celebrated birthday of Christ approaching quickly, I have begun pondering a few of those songs we often repeat from rote. Can you figure out which familiar carol this poem echoes?


Midwinter Miracles



In the austere interval of iciness,

Bitter blasts moaned.

The planet froze like iron,

All hydration was solid as a rock.

Flurries piled, higher and higher,

Higher and higher still.

In the austere interval of iciness,

Past our most distant of memories.



Almighty One, the eternal Kingdom

Is unable to contain the King,

And Creation may not last.

All that is may vanish

At His appearing.

In the austere interval of iciness,

A dirty animal stall fit the bill

For the coming of the Holy One,

Immanuel, Prince of Peace.



Heavenly agents, high and low,

Assembled in His presence.

Winged wonders, waiting for Him,

Filled the firmament.

Still, His sweet young parent

Yet unmarred by cynicism or sin’s scornfulness,

Adored her holy Infant,

In motherly tenderness.



How can I present a worthy gift

For such a wonder?

I have nothing to offer.

Would that I kept flocks,

That I might present a spotless animal.

Or, may I be a respected sage,

So I could offer gems of wisdom?

Instead, I have little to share

With the miracle Child,

Except my dearest devotion.
c2012 by Linda Ann Nickerson

This adaptation is inspired by a poem, penned by one of my all-time favorite poetesses, Christina Rossetti (1830-1894). Composer Gustav Holst  (1874-1934) set Rossetti’s words to music, and “In the Bleak Midwinter” became a treasured Christmas hymn.

Take a listen.

Many musicians have performed or recorded “In The Bleak Midwinter.” Here’s a version I like – from The Moody Blues. Somehow that feels fitting, as days darken and winter begins. And yet, the Child of Christmas brings us bright hope.

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And here are Rossetti’s own lines:

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,
            in the bleak midwinter, long ago.

2.         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.

3.         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.

4.         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.



Vintage Advent Calendar
Public Domain/Copyright Expired

NOTE: Thanks to Mike Miller, whose ongoing series of Christmas Carol Conundrums set me to thinking, which led to this poetic post. Check out his carol series, and see how many twisted titles you can recognize.

Don't miss:

20 Holiday Music Video Favorites: Merry Christmas Carol Countdown



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1 comment:

  1. Wow! Thanks for the plug! I'm afraid I would not have recognized the song at all, but for the last stanza.

    ReplyDelete

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