Thursday, December 13, 2012

Advent Day Twelve: what I can I give Him

In the Bleak Midwinter

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, 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. 

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.

(Christina Rossetti)

I think this is one of the most beautiful poems ever written, turned into one of the most beautiful Christmas carols.  I love how the poem shifts back and forth from the earthly to the heavenly:  one moment it is describing the moaning wind, iron-hard earth, and fallen snow; then the awesomeness of God and the angels; then Mary gently kissing the newborn baby.  And the final verse is such a simple, humble commitment of our hearts to Jesus.  Whether we are old or young, strong or weak, rich or poor, we can give Him our hearts, in simple, trusting faith.

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