I love this song all year around, but especially so when the month of December is here, inching towards the time of Christmas. As I am about to start cleaning the house welcoming my Ratanak family here tomorrow for a time of celebration with food, laughters, music, conversations, tears of joy and a lot of bear hugs. Now I come before my Lord and immerse in this singer’s sweet voice, I realize once again not everywhere nor in every hearts, there house a bleak midwinter. I wrote the same too same time last year when I listened to this song. Stone may not as hard as iron in Cambodia. Wind may not as frosty as moan in Cambodia. Water may not as hard as stone in Cambodia. Snow may not be fallen in Cambodia. All the bleak and frosty, hard and snowy are not the backdrop of why we celebrate this Christmas season. Those are only the molecules filled up in the air which make our noses running, which make our toes all frost-bit, which make us all rather to stay home with a cup of hot chocolate or coffee. Yet our hearts, my heart is filled with this unspeakable overwhelming joy right now as I see God’s working in Cambodia. In about 40 days, a team of 11 will be heading to Phnom Penh, Cambodia and will be ready to have our world rocked and turned upside down and inside out!!
The faces I have been dreaming of. Their little faces I will be holding in my palms. Their hands my fingers will be intertwining with. Their little bodies I will be embracing with my open arms. Oh, Father God, am I living in a dream? I am standing in the middle of answered prayers, what a privilege,what a blessing!!!
As I hold Lilias and Heather close to my sides every night, whisper into their ears how much I love them, You Father God remind me my arms will have rooms and nooks and crooks to embrace more of Your children!! Oh Father God, refresh and renew my heart with Your heart for Your children!! Your heart of compassion and love!!
By next week, a village of few hundreds will all come together to listen for the first time about the birth of our Saviour. The pastor will invite the crowd with a question, “Who wants this special gift?”. Hands will raise eagerly. Oh Jesus my Lord, Your love and mercy bind and balm their hearts and Only Your love of redemption can accomplish this.
In the crowd, there are children who are broken and hurt, it’s the love of Christ Jesus which binds and balms them back to shape with His hope and joy. I am broken and hurt whenever my mind drifts to that side of the world, however it’s the love of Christ Jesus which also binds and balms me back to shape with His hope and joy. My life is forever attached to theirs. My smiles are intricately followed because of theirs.
In the bleak midwinter, my heart is not bleak. In this bleak midwinter, their hearts are not bleak either. For 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. In Your Glorious Name, I pray
IN THE BLEAK MIDWINTER (Christina Rossetti, 1872)
In the bleak midwinter, frost 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.
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.
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.
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 you, I give you my heart.