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“Angels and Archangels

May have gathered there,

Cherubim and seraphim

Thronged the air;

But only His Mother

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.” (A Christmas Carol, Christina Rossetti, 1872)


This is one of my favorite hymns that is sometimes not all that popular at Christmastime. It has been said that in 2008, In the Bleak Midwinter was the most popular Christmas Music piece from popular choral masters and choir directors. I like it because it’s honest and real.

The poem/hymn/carol, especially in the two verses (3 and 4) that I have quoted above, talk about angels who are present at Jesus’ birth or the incarnation of God. And while they are heavenly beings, only Mary, Jesus’ mother, gets to actually physically touch him with the love of a mother’s kiss.

The next verse goes on to talk about us… as humans or at least makes us to look inward into ourselves. What can we give this king, poor people that we are? Animals certainly if we were shepherds, a gift perhaps like the Wise Men brought. But what if we’re us? Without gold, frankincense, myrrh, or sheep? The author pens the final words – I can give him my heart.

As I have grown older, I realize that Christmas always sneaks up on me way too fast. I think that I have things down and planned and then this week sneaks up like a thief in the night to use biblical imagery. A lot of times, I don’t feel especially Christmas-y and this might be one of those years if I’m honest.

But I lean into giving Jesus my heart. Because ready or not, that’s exactly what I want Jesus to have. I want to be a Jesus person in the world, I want to love as he did, I want to see the world as he did, I want to reflect the mercy and forgiveness that he did. I want the world to reflect it as well. And while that doesn’t depend on you or me, we get to be a part of it, and that is the greatest gift of all.


Enjoy this season. Celebrate well (whatever that means or looks like for you). Imagine that bleak midwinter day, and figure out who, or what, will get your heart.


Christmas Blessings always,

Pastor Travis