Sunday, December 30, 2012

In the Bleak Midwinter

As I take the time, in this holiday break between Christmas and New Year, to sift through family keepsakes that remind me of the season, I can’t help but notice the carols that automatically begin playing in my head.

During the Christmas season, whether I’m near a source of music or not, I have beautiful traditional tunes playing in my mind—whether they are classical (like the Tchaikovsky Nutcracker), ancient (O Come, O Come Emmanuel) or contemporary (thanks to Mel Tormé and even David Foster and Amy Grant).

When I found the card I want to share today, the music that automatically came to mind was the Gustav Holst setting to Christina Rossetti’s poem, “In the Bleak Midwinter.”

This tiny card is not really a Christmas card. It is actually a keepsake from—or promoting—the Saint Vincent de Paul organization. On the reverse, someone from our family had written the name, “Wm. A. Stevens.” Of course, that name could have represented either Agnes Tully Stevens’ husband Will, or her son Bill—possibly even her grandson Bill. At this point, I guess I will never know.

The scene depicted on the card, though not a Christmas scene, carries the season’s message in helping others—particularly the less fortunate. Just looking at the stark surroundings and the cold colors in the background, I immediately think, “bleak”—prompting the music in my mind to strike up the melody for this very carol.

The scene also arrests me because, like those in our family’s heritage, I can’t help but think of those who don’t have the many blessings we count as our due. They are indeed blessings and gifts, given to us to pass along, both now and throughout the year ahead.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...