Wednesday, December 22, 2004


Various things to say about Christmas, mostly given the fact that so many other bloggers seem to have various shaped chips on their shoulders about it. But I don't have time - too many Christmas preparations to make.

I did want to make two comments about carols, however. The first is that the "be-" of "begotten" should be on the previous line (along with "Very God"), because it then scans. The second is that this is one of my favourite carols, but I wanted to give it in its unbowdlerised version - verse 3 seems to be excluded from most hymnals. It is probably factually inaccurate in all sorts of significant details - the first verse in particular could be ditched with no great loss. However, it is excellent in capturing the idea of Jesus, the Son of God, accepting human flesh, its limitations and requirements, and recognising that there is really nothing I can bring to Jesus, except myself. It is by Christina Rossetti.

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. Angels and archangels
May have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim
Thronged the air,
But His mother only
In her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the Beloved
With a kiss.

5. 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.

1 comment:

Paul (probably - maybe Liz) said...

We sung "In the bleak midwinter" at a carol service this evening (see below). It was projected by an OHP, and the acetate had a rather unfortunate spelling error - "If I were a shepherd, I would give a Iamb." Surely it should have said, "If I were a poet ...."