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 on snow,
In the bleak midwinter long. Long ago.

What. . . can I give him, poor. . .  as I am?
If I were shepherd I would bring a lamb;
If I were a wise man  I would do my part;
Yet what can I give him— give my heart.[i]

The nucleus of Christianity is a response to Jesus’ challenge to his disciples, “Follow me.”   It is to follow him into his Way of transformed living and loving.  Tragically, down through the centuries too many of his followers have made Christianity into everything but simply, yet profoundly following his Way.   His radical way of inclusive love,  unfathomable compassion and advocacy for the poor, which was a quest for greater social justice, has been smothered by the oppressive weight of layer upon layer of doctrines, creeds and dogmas.  Persistent insistence on correct belief has obscured the profound mystery and naked beauty of his life, a life that lavishly loved without fear; the most fully human life ever lived.   The old hymn expresses the nucleus of Christianity as well as it can ever be expressed, “Yet what can I give him—give (him) my heart.”

May you have a blessed Christmas celebrating his birth as, I pray, he is reborn into our lives.

[i] Words to the hymn “In the Bleak Midwinter” are by Christina Georgina Rossetti, 1830 – 1894; music by Gustav Holst, 1874-1934.

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2 thoughts on “

  1. Rod Schofield

    Joe, thank you so much for this beautiful Christmas meditation that sums up so well our belief and within the context of one of my favorite hymns. Your ministry over the years has led many to give their hearts and minds to an inclusive faith that encapsulates the true meaning of Jesus’ life. We are thankful that you continue to offer your reflections as you do.

  2. Cindy B.

    Thanks Pastor Joe – in the throws of what accurately can be called a chaotic season, sifting through emotions and gift lists, the challenge to love lavishly without fear, and remembering that we are loved in this manner, is just what I needed to hear (because I do hear your voice when I read the text), and to remember. Best Christmas wishes to you and to Marsha!


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