“In the Bleak Midwinter”
During this Advent season, I have been blessed by the worship leading of our teams at Bethel. One song they have lead us in is “He Shall Reign Forevermore” by Chris Tomlin. It is a catchy song that reveals God’s majesty. It is based upon the 1872 poem “In the bleak Midwinter” written by Christina Rossetti. Rossetti’s poetry wrestled with faith, doubt, and the divine love of Christ.
While she was a reclusive woman, she had a warm and loving heart. When she was not creating art, you would find her ministering to the poor and “down and outers” of her day. Her Christmas poetry speaks of the light of Christ breaking into a dark world crying out for grace. Read the last stanza of “In the Bleak Midwinter”:
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.
Have you finished your Christmas shopping? For some, gift-giving this time of year is a routine annoyance, but for others it is very enjoyable. My wife Jessica loves gifts. Her love language is gifts. She delights in finding just the right gift for just the right person. Have you ever asked the question: “What gift can I give God for Christmas? Or what would be the perfect gift for Him?” I know I have. This poem, and our song based on it, speaks truth to us.
What can you give to an all-powerful God? Everything that we could possibly give Him, He has given us first. To God belongs all the wonders, riches and beauty of the whole universe. Despite this, what we CAN give Him is our hearts. As David wrote “My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise” (Ps. 51:17). This Christmas may our hearts be fixed upon the Newborn Savior of the world who “in the bleak mid-winter” of our souls has come to bring light.
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