Advent 2019 #19: In the bleak midwinter

…or the hot and dry Australian summer, for those of us in the southern half of the globe. As usual, we just can’t join in with so many of the traditional songs and activities.

However, I have shafted my patriotism momentarily to bring you some lyrics written in 1872 by the poet, Christina Rossetti.

Looking at the words, I think there’s a few songwriters out there who could get a masterclass from Christina on how to write some better lyrics. She’s got rhyme; she’s got rhythm – she’s even got a simile – and she’s got depth of meaning. And it’s meaning that is relevant to anyone (regardless of what hemisphere they’re in) because it’s about giving gifts to Jesus.

Here’s the song, again with lyrics below. This rendition is performed by an Australian band, which is great.

Yours in the hot midsummer,


(These are the lyrics as you’ll hear them, as they skip the original 2nd and 3rd verses)

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.

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 I can I give him: give my heart.

Photo by Oleg Zaicev on

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s