Today we continue our Advent/Christmas series titled “Let’s Sing.” This is our 10th song of the series. For easy reference to the remainder of the series, please see the index, “Let’s Sing” at http://revbroyles.me/2020/12/06/lets-sing/.
1. 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.
2. Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign:
In the bleak mid-winter a stable-place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.
3. Enough for Him, whom cherubim worship night and day,
A breast-full of milk and a manger-full of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels fall down before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.
4. Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air,
But only His mother in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped 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 I can I give Him, give my heart.
Prior to Christmas in 1991 if I had ever heard this hymn, I do not know when that was. When I entered the ministry this was a completely unfamiliar hymn.
That year, my first in the ministry, I attended a Christmas party held by my District Superintendent, Rev. Connie Winborn. Connie was helpful to a new pastor starting out in ministry. Now retired, he is now a part of my good friend, Jay Jackson’s congregation at First UMC in Longview Texas.
The entertainment that evening was brought by Rev. Jerry House Jr. Jerry is a very talented guitar player and even more talented singer. As a side note, I have heard Jerry preach as well and he has a lot of talent there too. He seems to make full use of the gifts God has entrusted in with.
An English-Italian poet, Christina Georgina Rossetti wrote the poem, originally titled “A Christmas Carol.” It was first published in Scribner’s Monthly, in 1872. It was not until 12 years after Rosetti’s death that the poem was given its voice, its music. Gustov Hoist and Edwin Drake produced musical settings for the carol.
Rossetti’s parents, both from Italy valued the arts. Her brothers were classical painters. It becomes easy to see her family’s love for the arts.
Rossetti, born to Italian parents in England, was schooled at home by her mother. She suffered from Grave’s disease, a chronic thyroid disease. She lost her life at age 64 due to breast cancer. It is interesting that a person who suffered so much in her life would tell a story of great joy. It is a story that tells the story of Jesus’ birth from its physical circumstances.
This hymn still holds great popularity. That is the case especially for choir directors and and choir masters. According to a 2008 study by Liberty University said is was the favorite carol among those who participated.
I wish I had known of this carol years before I did. I had missed something that I truly enjoy today. But, I am thankful I know it now. I feel blessed from that December night in 1991.
I know this is late getting posted. By the time I get it posted it will be a day late but I will get it caught up. December is a busy time for all of us and sermons do take priority. I pray your December is going well.
Seeking the Genuine,
Copyright 2020, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved