"In the Bleak Midwinter" is a popular Christmas carol that was written by Christina Rossetti in the 19th century. Its lyrics poetically describe the birth of Jesus and the scene of His nativity. In verse one, Rossetti describes the physical circumstances of the Incarnation in Bethlehem. In verse two, Rossetti contrasts Christ's first and second coming. Read the full lyrics and the story of this hymn below.
1 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.
2 Our God, Heaven cannot hold him, nor earth sustain;
heaven and earth shall flee away when he comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
the Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.
3 Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
but his mother only, in her maiden bliss,
worshiped the beloved with a kiss.
4 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.
United Methodist Hymnal, 1989
The Story Behind In the Bleak Midwinter
"In the Bleak Midwinter" is a Christmas carol based on a poem by the English poet Christina Rossetti. The poem was published, under the title "A Christmas Carol", in the January 1872 issue of Scribner's Monthly.
The poem first appeared set to music in The English Hymnal in 1906 with a setting by Gustav Holst.
Harold Darke's anthem setting of 1911 is more complex and was named the best Christmas carol in a poll of some of the world's leading choirmasters and choral experts in 2008
Popular Hymn Lyrics with Story and Meaning
Day by Day and With Each Passing Moment
Jesus Loves Me
What a Friend We Have in Jesus
Nearer My God to Thee
Abide with Me
His Eye Is On the Sparrow
Be Thou My Vision
Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God Almighty
How Great Thou Art