This Christmas, as we all seek peace and meaning in our lives, it is good to enrich our souls with the music and the meaning of this magical and mystical season. I would recommend you read and listen to the hauntingly beautiful refrain of an obscure, but deeply moving Christmas Carol entitled, 'In the Bleak Midwinter'. It is a Christmas Carol based on a poem by the English poet Christina Rossetti. The poem was published, under the title "A Christmas Carol", in the January 1872 issue of Scribner's Monthly. The poem first appeared set to music in The English Hymnal in 1906 with a setting by Gustav Holst:
In the Bleak Midwinter
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.
Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.
Enough for Him, whom cherubim, worship night and day,
Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels fall before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.
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.
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.
Please take the time to listen to this beautiful Poem set to music, and sung by a number of College Choirs and Artists, but none more beautifully than Susan Boyle, which you can find here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MM-2Qz4hcwI. Finally, I have posted my Christmas Blog below. I wish you all a very happy and a very holy Christmas.
'Where are the snows of yesteryear?'
- Francois Villon - Ballade "Des du temps jadis" (Of Yore).
'Snow' has always featured in my art. This because it immediately connects me with bygone memories - memories of my youth, perhaps even memories of a better time. Memories when, especially at Christmas, there was a 'peace', and a silence and a stillness, which was the hallmark of that season's 'Christmas-time'. Many years ago, Francois Villon, the French Poet, uttered these words, "Mais où sont les neiges d’anten?" (where are the snows of yesteryear?). It is much, much more than a question - it is a poignant reflection on the impermanence of beauty. Villon as well, is lamenting the bitter shortness of life and points to the folly of living for the present. We are reminded of that every Christmas, when we celebrate the birth of Christ who, in an supremely unfathomable act of humility, became a babe, born to the Virgin Mary, in the little town of Bethlehem. In Him is our hope for the future. In Him, all the 'snows of yesteryear' find new meaning in renewal and re-birth, ours and all of creation. In Him is the answer to Villon's question. In Him lies the past, the present and the future, and all those wonderful memories, embodied in that one simple phrase of Villon, find new meaning in the person of Jesus, the Babe of Bethlehem.