Since there are four weeks of Advent, I thought it appropriate to reflect on what Jesus would want for Christmas for the entire season! I hope it has been a reflective time for you, and that your faith has expanded because of these thoughts.
One of my favorite Christmas hymns is “In the Bleak Midwinter” (which our choral group sang just a few weeks ago!). At first it sounds like a very depressing song – “In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan. Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone…”
Really? That’s supposed to celebrate the birth of our savior? As the song goes on, we find the picture of Christmas painted differently than we normally expect. It’s not about shouting angels and heavenly choirs and lights up in the sky; it is a more personal, private song. The author, Christina Rosetti, wrote this poem to describe the human side of what was going on. A stable, a manger, a mother’s kiss – beyond all of the lights and glitter and music, a simple family story was taking place.
As I grow older, I find this song more and more compelling. As a child, I wanted every new toy I saw on TV; as a teenager, I wanted the latest and brightest and best. As a young father, I wanted to get the things for my children that would make them happy; as an old man now (60?), I want the comfort of being with family and friends. I don’t need as much anymore; I am more content with what I have.
The last verse of this song is my favorite – “What can I give him, poor as I am? If I were a shepherd, I would give a lamb. If I were a wise man, I would do my part – yet what I can, I give Him – give my heart.”
Peace to you –
- Rev. Bill