Friday, December 25, 2009

In the Bleak Midwinter

When I lived in the Midwest where it was seriously cold at Christmastime, In the Bleak Midwinter was one of my favorite Christmas anthems. Here are some excerpted verses:

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. [verses deleted]

Enough for Him, whom cherubim, worship night and day,
Breastful of milk, and a mangerful 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. [verses deleted]

I love the melody. I love the way the first verse sets the atmosphere, describing wintertime more perfectly than any other verbal description I have ever read. As a matter of fact, the first verse is the only one I actually remembered. I had to Google the rest of the lyrics.

When the song switches gears in the second verse, it loses me, so I deleted that verse and the last verse. I do not view Christmas as a cosmic salvific event. I think that detracts from the "real" miracle of Christmas: the Incarnation.

I'm frankly not interested in the Christ as Lord and Savior.

I've always been more drawn to the concept of Immanuel, God With Us: the Holy One who is content in humble surroundings, nourished by mother's milk and loved by mother's kisses. The God who is immanent, involved and Present.

Do you want to know how God feels about Creation? In my opinion no description ever dreamed up by story teller, bard or prophet could come closer than the image of a mother lost in the rapture of love for her newborn child.

Any child.

Every child.

I wish you a joyous Christmas!


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