In the Bleak Midwinter (ELW 294, verse 2)
1 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.
2 Heaven cannot hold him, nor earth sustain;
heav’n and earth shall flee away when he comes to reign;
in the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
the Lord God almighty, Jesus Christ.
3 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.
Who among us has never experienced a bleak midwinter? The long hours of darkness, bitter cold, and biting wind; deep snow and treacherous ice; the dormancy of nature’s growing things. Those are often too real for us who live in the north—and what many a snowbird seeks to escape. But bleak midwinter knows many seasons. Heart wrenching grief and deep loss. Prolonged pandemic and debilitating diseases. Great disappointments and failures. Social, political, and economic upheaval. Global tensions, racial disparities, and miscarried justice. Yet the promise in Christ is that none of these will have the last word. Heaven’s Gift has come to reign, and through him a new day has begun. One day all that now troubles us will be done with. In the meantime, into all our seasons, and especially our bleak midwinters, Jesus Christ enters, the Word who became flesh to live among us and walk with us comes to lead us through.
Gracious Father, thank you for sending Christ into our bleak winters to forgive, heal and walk with us. As we ourselves are embraced by his love, use us to accompany others through their troubles. Amen.