“In the Bleak Mid-Winter”
One of my favoirte carols is “In the Bleak Mid-Winter” with words from the beautiful poem by Christina Rossetti, music by Gustav Holst. Once I start singing this carol, it haunts and comforts me, making the short days less bleak. Last night I was speaking with a friend whose husband died a few weeks ago, and one of her neighbors gave her an amaryllis bulb. She didn’t know what it was and told me that it was an ugly stump in a large pot. That made me laugh. As we talked, I looked at the amaryllis on my kitchen counter–one that had sproutetd quickly from a similar undistinquished bulb. It has a long, green stalk and a fat bud, promising me future color. I sent her a photo of it.
Then I looked back in the photos on my phone and found one from last Christmas:
Now she was excited. Ready to hang in there. Willing to water it and wait. And that seemed to me exactly what this season requires: water and wait. Get expectations out of the way. Invite silence to visit. Or as Christina Rossetti put it: “Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow, In the bleak mid-winter, Long ago.”