"In the Bleak Midwinter" Arose Our Savior

“In the Bleak Midwinter” is a little-known hymn yet a favorite of mine.  The final verse is the verse taken by many as the entire song or poem.  Even though we probably know today that Christ’s birth was not in the winter, the period of history could certainly be considered “bleak” with Herod the king, his wrath, and his order to slay all the boys under two years of age in Bethlehem and in all the coasts in surrounding areas.  Yet God’s plan was anything but bleak when we can see even a speck of this Light Who came.  Who came for us, to save us, to call us out of the darkness, to ask us to “follow” Him, to walk with Him.

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.
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.
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.

 

As I fall to worship Him, I see the Light of God beaming from the manger.  The Light draws me near no matter what my circumstances are, bleak or joyful.  The Light does not scare me because this Light is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  This Light takes the darkness away.  When I fall into those dark times, I must not relinquish the faith He gives to me to know and see His Light.  No matter how dark times seem today and in the future days and years, the Light will always shine.  I must hold my eyes upon Him.  He will lead me through what appears dark and bleak.  It is only the appearance for the Truth is Christ Jesus.  

 

Matthew 2:1-18 
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: “‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.'” Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared.  And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.”  

After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.  And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.  And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.

The Flight to Egypt

Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

Herod Kills the Children

Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah: “A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.” 

 

Thank You, LORD, for this blessed moment with You.  Thank You for faith, for Light.  And I thank You for the darkness as it actually reminds me that the Light is You, that the Light removes the darkness.  May I remember this when I walk in darkness, in bleakness.  I ask for You guidance to see even when it is dark.  The king brought bleakness to the land by his fears and jealousies.  How easily I can fall into bleak periods of this life.  Build my faith, Holy One.  Draw me near to Thee.  I want only You.  I love You so, LORD Jesus.  Amen.  

 

“In the Bleak Midwinter” is a Christmas carol based on a poem by the English poet Christina Rossetti (1830-1894) written before 1872 in response to a request from the magazine Scribner’s Monthly for a Christmas poem. It was published posthumously in Rossetti’s Poetic Works in 1904 and became a Christmas carol after it appeared in The English Hymnal in 1906 with the music, “Cranham”, written by Gustav Theodore Holst in 1906.


poem by
Christina G. Rossetti (English poet – 1830-1894) 

As a Lamb

And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”  Revelation 7:11-12

 LORD, to be with You one day and fall on my face before Your throne!  And for today, I praise You, thank You, and love You … today.  To You, I give myself.  You came to this earth for me, for other “me..s” for You wanted to save us and bring us into Your Kingdom.  As Christmas approaches, the love I feel for You grows deeper and deeper and I thank You, LORD.  I thank You.

  • for sending Your Son
  • The Messiah, The Anointed One
  • Immanuel, God with Us
    • All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:  “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”–which means, “God with us.”  Matthew 1:22-23
  • Salvation
  • The Light
  • The Truth
  • The Way
    • Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.  John 14:6
  • a manger
    • … and the babe lying in a manger.  Luke 2:16b
  • Joseph’s obedience to God
    • But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.   She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”  Matthew 1:20-21 
    • When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.  But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.  Matthew 1:24-25
  • the Shepherds
  • their obedience to God
    • And it came to pass , as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass , which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.  Luke 2:15-16  
  • Mary’s humility
    • And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”  Luke 1:38
    • ButMarykeptall these things, and pondered them inher heart.  Luke 2:19
  • for simplicity
  • spending very little
  • to prepare for Christmas through words of my heart, actions of my soul
  • to celebrate Christmas by loving and caring
  • baking cookies and making fudge
  • the tiny beaded Christmas tree given to my mother by a dear friend of hers who made it for her now is our Christmas tree
  • God’s Enormous Love packaged in The Gift … Christ Jesus

I praise You today, my LORD of lords;  I thank You today, and love You today, my King of kings.  I open my hands and lift my arms to my Savior born in a manger.  Humbly and quietly, You came to save many such as myself.  May I remember and remain.  May I bow and bend.  I offer my all to You, sweet little Jesus, at this CHRISTmas time and always.  Amen.   

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Isaiah 9:6

Can You Hear the Angels Sing? Oh! How I CAN!!!!

Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.  GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places.  
Habakkuk 3:17-19
YET … I rejoice in the LORD.
YET … I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
YET … GOD, the Lord, is my strength.
The world seems to be all twisted and awry.  So much of what I see hurts my heart.  I want to fix everything.  I want things to be okay.  I want children to be safe.  I want no more war.  I want people to get along whether it be countries, marriages, families.  I want kind words spoken to one another.  BUT … I cannot fix these things for others, only in myself as I allow the LORD to fix me.
SO … I rejoice in the LORD.
SO … I take joy in the God of my salvation.
SO … God is my Strength, my Refuge, my Redeemer.
He came as a Baby.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.  And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth.  And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.  

Luke 2:4-7
 Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.  And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.  And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”  And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him.   
Luke 2:25-33

 

 
And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”  
Luke 2:34-35

Even the Blessed Child’s parents heard words that “pierced” their ears and hearts when their little one, our little One, was only eight days old.  If I had lived then and known that, how could I fix that?  I could not!
YET … I rejoice in the LORD, the Messiah.
YET … I take joy in the God of my salvation.
YET … GOD, the Lord, is my Strength.
YET … Jesus is my Hope and my Redeemer.
Although I am a frail human and I am a sinner, God came to this earth in this wee little Jesus Child to save one such as myself.  He loves me so.  He rejoices over me.  He exults over me with loud singing.  He quiets me with His Love.  (Zephaniah 3:17)  Only He can live in my heart to soothe the ache that comes.  Only He can whisper love into my ears when I am troubled by what I hear, by what I see.  Only He.  Only Jesus.

Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls,…. Habakkuk 3:17

Where life is cut off, where hearts do not feel, nor eyes see or ears hear, many go on pretending and looking like we feel, see, hear, care, and love.  For some, Christmas is not!  Not a celebration of Christ nor of beginnings nor of the Light shining today upon this God-created earth nor His children.  Not a celebration of love either.  So much is missed and some never even know they miss anything.    
… yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.  GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places.  Habakkuk 3:18-19
YET, even when it hurts, when life pierces our very souls, when things are skewed in the world, when we struggle to understand those “whys”, the life and the Light of Jesus points the way to the resurrected life in us. We have hope in the LORD.  We hold close to the One Who came to save us.  He is Life.  He is our life.  We grow in maturity to bloom again and again.  
Can You Hear the Angels Sing? Oh! How I CAN!!!!

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Isaiah 9:6

AND SO … I rejoice in the LORD.
AND … I do take joy in the God of my salvation.
AND … GOD, the Lord, is my Strength.
AND … how great Thou art, my LORD.

It came upon the midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth,
To touch their harps of gold:
“Peace on the earth, goodwill to men
From heavens all gracious King!”
The world in solemn stillness lay
To hear the angels sing.

Still through the cloven skies they come,
With peaceful wings unfurled;
And still their heavenly music floats
O’er all the weary world:
Above its sad and lowly plains
They bend on hovering wing,
And ever o’er its Babel sounds
The blessed angels sing.

O ye beneath life’s crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow;
Look now, for glad and golden hours
Come swiftly on the wing;
Oh rest beside the weary road
And hear the angels sing.

For lo! the days are hastening on,
By prophets seen of old,
When with the ever-circling years
Shall come the time foretold,
When the new heaven and earth shall own
The Prince of Peace, their King,
And the whole world send back the song
Which now the angels sing.

           “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear”  

Oh!  Can you imagine this whole world singing back the angels’ song Heavenward?  Hallelujah!!!!!
I celebrate Christ for He is Christmas.  He is All.   
King of kings and Lord of lords.


“It Came Upon a Midnight Clear”: Written by Edmund Hamilton Sears in 1849.  Music — composed by Richard Storrs Willis in 1859.