Christina Rossetti

June 24, 2013

Christmas 2006



This poem is better known as a hymn, and one of the best-loved of Christmas carols. I include it here because I love it, and because it doesnt matter what God you worship, if any, what matters is how you approach the spiritual life what TS Eliot called, a condition of complete simplicity, costing not less than everything.

So the gift of the heart which must be freely given, is the everything that is sought. I suppose I was thinking of that when I wrote in The Passion Do it from the heart, or not at all.

Some people find that any religious poem or piece of music or painting feels closed to them, but that is usually because the piece has become too overlaid with ideology, or stolen for some false purpose, or that we ourselves lack the courage or the patience to see though the wrapper.

Anyway, here it is.

In the bleak mid-winter
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 mid-winter
Long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold
Nor earth sustain;
Heaven and Earth shall flee away
When he comes to reign:
In the bleak mid-winter
A stable-place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty
Jesus Christ.

Enough for him whom cherubim
Worship night and day,
A breastful of milk
And a manger full of hay;
Enough for him, whom angels
Fall down before,
The ox and ass and camel
Which adore.

Angels and archangels
May have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim
Thronged the air;
But only his mother
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 can I give Him,
Give my heart.