I am convinced that if movies were stripped of their musical accompaniment, there would be no anxiety-filled dark alley ways, tragic space-walks would be devoid of fear, desperate reunions of long lost loves would be tearless and thrilling victories would get no more than a yawn. Add in powerful lyrics and we are moved to cling, cry and cringe!
The poetry of music moves us and speaks to our hearts in ways that simple prose often doesn’t. Perhaps it is the limited words, barring Homer’s epic “Odyssey”, of course. Or perhaps it is the different phrasing that allows for us to say more and feel even more. Whatever the cause, music often gives voice to desires, fears and hopes that we keep guarded in our hearts.
One such song for me is the Christmas carol, “In the Bleak Midwinter”. The music is lovely, but it’s the verses that pluck at my heart, causing me to pause and consider anew the birth of Jesus. And contemplate again what I have to give back to Jesus from my meager life. He doesn’t need my riches. He doesn’t want my left-over time. He doesn’t desire my lip-service. He longs for my heart.
In thinking about what to write for this Christmas season, God started an itching in my brain that has grown into a story. A story inspired by this beloved carol and the eyewitness account of this momentous event by a young girl ... and her life that is transformed when she gives the gift of her heart to the young baby, Jesus.
During this season of Advent, I hope you will stop by again and enjoy a little vignette, “Midwinter Memories”.
In the Bleak Midwinter
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.
Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
but his mother only, in her maiden bliss,
worshiped 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 him heart.
Text: Christina G. Rossetti, 1830-1894
Music: Gustav Holst, 1874-1934
Tune: CRANHAM, Meter: Irr.
A quick disclaimer: I am not a Biblical historian, but I know enough to understand that this is a romanticized interpretation of Jesus’ birth. He was probably born in September of that year and rarely does Bethlehem see snow ... which pretty much negates that entire first stanza. But, I have characters lining up at my inn door wanting to share their story, so I’ve decided to not worry too much about the historical accuracy. I want it to be cold, so ... it is. But I think I’ll leave out the snow, on snow, on snow. ...shiver...