In the Bleak Midwinter Long Ago 

In 1973 I went almost daily to sit in the choir with the choristers at King’s College Chapel at Cambridge University to pray in the late  afternoon.  Since I wore my Cambridge scholar’s gown, I could sit and pray with them in the choir rather than sit outside in the main church with tourists, townsfolk, and others dressed in their street garb.

Did they every sing ‘In the Bleak Midwinter” during those dark and dreary months of January through March?  I don’t remember.  But over the years this hymn has been so important to me as I struggle with severe Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).  I struggle every year, even here in Central Florida this winter of 2018.

Poem by Christina Rosetti and music by Gustav Holst

In the bleak mid-winter
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 mid-winter
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 mid-winter
A stable-place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty,
Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, 

whom cherubim
Worship night and day,
A breastful of milk
And a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, 

whom angels
Fall down before,
The ox and ass and camel
Which adore.

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.


Christina Georgina Rossetti (5 December 1830 – 29 December 1894) was an English poet who wrote a variety of romanticdevotional, & children's poems.

© Robert Bela Wilhelm 2018