Christmas is a time of joy and celebration, but also one of hope—especially for those undergoing hardships. And not just any hope: it’s the hope of Jesus.
Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada with a beautiful, Christmas song for the beginning of Advent …
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, so long ago.
I remember when I lived back in Maryland; I would so enjoy attending winter concerts around town. I remember once when I was a senior in high school, still on my feet. I went with three of my girlfriends to hear a few of our classmates sing in a choir. The concert was in this big, old Methodist church downtown. Outside it was starting to snow and we almost decided not to brave the weather. But my girlfriend had chains on the tires of her Volkswagen, and so we decided to make it an adventure. We made it to the church okay. We got out and a knifing wind made us pull our jackets tightly around us, but inside the old stone church, people left their coats and galoshes in the entry hall and there they were huddled in the dimly-lit pews. Candlelight bathed the sanctuary with a warm and inviting glow, and the voices of the choir echoed off the high-church ceiling. The three of us found our seats.
I was young then—only 17 years old. But the memory of that beautiful, solemn evening is as clear and crisp as the air was that winter night. And one of the songs they performed was this one: “In the Bleak Midwinter.” There is something bittersweet about it; something haunting. It was written for the beginning of Advent.
There’s a kind of longing in the words, words that could come right out of the depths of your heart when you feel captive by doubt or despair. Maybe you feel like your life is in some difficult era right now—some challenging time. Perhaps you are saddened by a recent loss in the family or a trial that is particularly hard, given that we are in the season of Christmas. But as this Christmas song reminds us, we can rejoice because God is with us. That's what Emmanuel means—God is with us. And that right there is why Christmas is such a glorious season of hope.
And today it is my prayer that God will meet you where you are this month. Jesus has come to rescue you, to restore you, to give you hope and a future. Long ago and far away in that old stone Methodist church, I was captivated by that haunting melody and for me the memory serves as a reminder that God is with me—God with us—every step of the way.
Hey, I have a special gift I want to send you: it's a beautiful 14 page foldout all about the Christmas story. Something you may want to slip into your neighbor’s mailbox out front of their house or something you may want to give to your mailman! It's got lovely illustrations and it shares the Christmas story, in such an illustrative way. Just go to my radio page today at joniandfriends.org and ask for "The Christmas Story." And remember it really is all about Jesus this beautiful season.
© Joni and Friends
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