OSL Stephen Ministries
In the Bleak Midwinter
As I write this article, softly falling snow settles on the Christmas evergreens and red bows on our deck. But as you read it, Christmas will be past and your decorations snuggly stored away. Mine still will be up; I’m a procrastinator. But prompt or pokey, our January landscapes both probably include snow—not just “snow,” but “snow on snow, snow on snow.”
The image of “snow on snow, snow on snow” was penned by Christina Georgiana Rossetti in a poem published in January 1872. Her words stood the test of time in the Christmas carol “In the Bleak Midwinter,” describing the simplicity of Christ’s nativity, glory of his second coming, and her gift to him—her heart. But before she got to that good stuff, she painted this cold, dreary picture:
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,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.
Sound familiar? Advent’s anticipation is past; the holiday cheer is done; it’s time to shovel our way through January…and February…and on and on.
But sometimes, shoveling is not enough. The bleakness of midwinter closes in, and problems pile up, heavy and layered, like “snow on snow, snow on snow.”
If your inner winter scene holds too much “snow,” Stephen Ministers can help you by listening in a confidential, non-judgmental manner; just contact Pr. Tim Lemme, Deb Harlan, or any Stephen Minister.