In the Bleak Midwinter (ELW 294, verse 3)
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.
What can I possibly give him, the God who came to live among us and even joins us in our bleak midwinters? This is the creator, redeemer, and sustainer of us all. Everything we have flows from the gracious hand of the One who breathes Word into our midst and Spirit into our beings. People have long attempted elaborate responses and rituals in efforts to gain God’s favor. But here it is made profoundly simple. The common starting point for anyone who wishes to welcome Jesus is to “give my heart.” From there flows everything else we do, whether giving a lamb, or money, or sharing our time and abilities. I commend these words of Romans 12:1 from The Message: “Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.”
Lord Jesus, as you have given me your all, I give you my heart. May my everyday, ordinary life be an acceptable offering to you, blessing you and all whom I encounter. Amen.