Sunday, December 11, 2016

#398, in which a stable place sufficed

Today's song is one I wasn't familiar with before you suggested it to me: "In the Bleak Midwinter." It's really beautiful, and if you haven't heard it before, go ahead and switch off Rudolph and Frosty and listen to this on loop all day instead.


I particularly like this video. The cathedral choir do a terrific job of singing the song, but there's something special about hearing the congregation join in. Everyone gets to praise the Lord together, no matter whether they have training, talent, practice, or not. (And that ties in neatly with the message of the song! What an amazing coincidence that surely wasn't planned in the slightest!)

I wrote about this several years ago, but this song is similar to "Joy to the World" in that it addresses not only the Savior's first coming, but his second. We sing, "Our God, heaven cannot hold him, nor earth sustain; heaven and earth shall flee away when he comes to reign." At His second coming, he will rule in power, and every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that He is the Christ. There will be no mistaking Him at that time. Yet, as we go on to sing, "in the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed the Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ." The Lord, the ruler and creator of the universe, the one who took upon Himself all of our sins so that we could live again, was born in a lowly stable, with shepherds and animals to herald Him.

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.
The tender image of Mary, surrounded by hay and the gentle bleating of lambs, leaning down to kiss the little Lord on the head was enough to make it considerably dusty in my house this morning. (It did not help that in the video, the camera zooms in on a mother doing the same thing for her son.) He came in humility as an example of humility to all of us. He showed us in every footstep, every action, what manner of men we ought to be. We follow His example, and in so doing, we can give Him our heart.

The last verse of the song asks and answers the same question as we encountered yesterday in "Little Drummer Boy": What can I give Him, poor as I am? We can give Him the same thing we could if we were a poor child, or a shepherd, or a wise man, or anyone else. We can give Him our will, our heart, and everything we have and are. To paraphrase, what we can we give Him, give our heart.

Enjoy your Sabbath, friends.

Previously in this series

Little Drummer Boy

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