“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.”
In the Bleak Midwinter- Christina Georgina Rossetti
Today’s Daily Word made me think of this famous line from the much loved Christmas carol In the Bleak Midwinter. As we edge ever closer to Christmas in our Advent season we recognise what we can give to others. When we look to the divine with all our heart, we connect with a divine essence. In the song the verse mentions being poor and having nothing to give the Christ child, not even a lamb like the shepherd. Instead the writer gives the only thing she has, her heart. This is the last verse of the song and we are left with the image of the writer handing her whole life over to the divine. The power of this message is clear even in a few words.
Of course in truth we are never poor, through giving to God we are richly and abundantly blessed. We tap into our heart and there is the message, the message of God’s love for us, the abundant blessing bestowed on us and the truth that we can never out give God. In the story the writer gives the only thing she can and the most precious thing of all, her own heart. We can be certain that when we truly give our heart to God we are transformed and receive every blessing. Our cup overflows, we let it flow and we let it bless others.
The story of the Christ child’s birth is a powerful one symbolically, but the point that has always stood out for me is the gifts, even as a child acting in a nativity play. Every character has a gift to give, a cuddly toy lamb, a collection of sparkly boxes wrapped up to represent gold. I have often wished that within the nativity story there was a character that just wandered in. In some legends there is, a young shepherd boy, a holy fool who makes the child laugh. We all have a gift to give, to give without expectation or reward, simply with love.
Take a moment to imagine that familiar stable, almost as if we have always known it, the smells of animals, the rough touch of the straw, the sound of voices, angelic singing, a woman and man, looking over a manager in wonder. See the figures gathered round, travelers, a bright shining star, overhead, making night seem like day. A sense of peace, love and joy. Stay with this image for as long as you wish.
Many blessings to you.
By Ruth Humphreys