In The Bleak Midwinter

There are Christmas songs and hymns that I have heard for years that, in the past year or two, it seems, I’m just coming to really appreciate. I guess it comes from the fact that I’m now attending a church on a weekly basis and am being exposed to lyrics in the hymnals when we sing in unison as a part of the worship service. In The Bleak Midwinter by Christina Rossetti (1872) was originally intended as a poem and is rightly characterized by striking imagery and extremely relevant sentiment. It effectively bridges, for me, the abstractness of the story, and the reality of his arrival to redeem us from the meaningless, self-centered lives that we all so naturally would lead without 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.

It Is Well With My Soul

I was vaguely familiar with this hymn when I was younger. The weight of it hit me full force, however, when, as a 30 year old prodigal, I finally found peace with Jesus through discovery of His grace. The version of the song that woke me up was from the Jars of Clay album “Redemption Songs.” I’ve heard it done by a few others since then (e.g. Rebecca St. James, Jeremy Camp), but, not done nearly as effectively in my opinion.

To me the significance of this hymn is the realization of the reality of complete forgiveness that is available to us if we simply ask. I now am able recognize the joy that our Abba experiences when we finally return home. While the weather of life on Earth will continue for a time, I can hold fast for the time when, “The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend.”

It is well with my soul.

It is Well With My Soul

(1) When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,When sorrows like sea billows roll-Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,It is well, it is well with my soul.

CHORUS: It is well with my soul,it is well, it is well with my soul.

(2) My sin- O the joy of this glorious thought-My sin, not in part, but the whole,Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more:Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

(3) And, Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,The clouds be rolled back as a scroll:The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend,”Even so”- it is well with my soul.