In The Bleak Midwinter
Someone recently told me that this was their favourite Christmas song, and it gave me a lot to think about. I will admit I was surprised – the title doesn’t instantly appeal and is not quite as catchy as Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want For Christmas’. But they said it spoke about the reality of Jesus and I was intrigued.
2020 could be described as bleak, and in terms of being barren and harsh, in some ways it has been ‘winter’ all year. So perhaps this song by Christina Rossetti can remind us where Jesus is in the midst of it all.
It speaks of Jesus’ majesty, reminding us that Angels and Archangels bow down and worship him; he who cannot be contained by heaven and earth. It paints a beautiful picture of his eternal glory and holds it against the reality that a stable was enough for him, where Mary worshipped him with a mother’s kiss. It brings the humanity of Jesus right into the forefront. The reality is that Jesus chose to take on weak and frail humanity, and live in poverty amongst political friction and danger. He did all this to be with us, he risked it all to be close to us, to ultimately bring us close to him.
If 2020 is a bleak midwinter, Jesus is here with us, he is not afraid of our mess or suffering. Our dispelled worship across zoom, through face masks and at a safe distance is enough for him, because he does not seek perfection as the world does, but the sincerity of a beloved’s kiss.