The great composer, Gustav Holst, brought to life the lyrics of a poet in a Christmas carol melody both sad and sweet. It starts out:
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.
This captures my mood facing the bleakness of an unwavering wintry season. With snow on snow, it will become difficult to reach the barn for twice-daily feeding of hay, and below zero temps will challenge our active Border Collies running for a mile four times daily.
Friends often ask, “How do you keep this up, especially at your age?!” My reply, in a cheerful voice, “Well, it keeps us young!”
Here’s what I’ve come to realize: Discomfort, pain, and even suffering in the daily process of living can sharpen our awareness and appreciation of being fully alive, fully blessed, and confident in facing the next challenges.
In this Christmas carol, the singer realizes that while she doesn’t have gifts of a lamb or gold to bring to the Bethlehem Christ child, what she has, she gratefully gives – her heart.
May our hearts be full of love and gratefulness as we enter this midwinter season of a new year!