Sunday, January 9, 2011

In the Bleak Midwinter

This week the Christmas tree comes down. I've always found that to be the peak of "the bleak midwinter" - no more presents, Christmas music, decorations, or time off school and work. In the liturgical year of the Roman Catholic Church, the season of Christmas ends today and tomorrow we return to Ordinary Time. As I'm taking the ornaments off the tree and packing away the nativity set for another year, I'm inclined to lament, along with Elvis, "Why can't every day be like Christmas?"

Another far more beautiful song has the response. "The Three Kings", which I posted on the Feast of Epiphany, reminds us of the answer:
Thou child of man, lo, to Bethlehem
The Kings are travelling, travel with them!
The star of mercy, the star of grace,
Shall lead thy heart to its resting place.
Gold, incense, myrrh thou canst not bring;
Offer thy heart to the infant King.
Making every day like Christmas isn't merely a sentimental idea from an Elvis song - it is our calling as Christians.  That, to me, is a wonderful thought. The kings are always travelling – we can travel each and every day with them, toward the Christ child! We can allow Him to be born in our hearts every morning; we can let Him displace pride, selfishness, greed, gluttony - whatever moldy old straw is taking up room in the manger. The angels are calling us from tending the flocks in the cold darkness, toward the warm radiance of the stable, to go and worship the King so that He might permanently implant in our hearts the joy and generosity we feel on Christmas Day. That is a very comforting thought indeed, as Bleak Midwinter descends. In fact, “In the Bleak Midwinter” ends with the same exhortation as “The Three Kings”:  
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.
That is surely the best gift we can give, and one that will truly transform the coming weeks of Ordinary Time into something extraordinary.


  1. Thank you Mrs. Beazly and Mrs. Pinkerton for enriching my Christmas season like no other before it. And I look forward to Ordinary time being a little less Ordinary than usual as long as DOH is a part of the blogging world. God Bless us everyone!!

  2. What a lovely comment, Mrs. Jones--thank you. God bless us indeed!

  3. Thanks for your kind encouragement, Mrs. Jones. The thought that our blog may bring a little joy to someone is what keeps us going.