Gift giving at Christmas has become a tradition for many families. The song “In the Bleak Midwinter” reminds us that we need only give one simple gift. Keep reading to learn the story behind the song. Then download the free PDF of the lyrics and coloring sheets and sing along with the final verse of this beautiful song.
“My Gift” Lyrics
What can I give Him,
Poor as I am;
If I were a shepherd,
I would give Him a lamb.
If I were a Wise Man,
I would do my part,
But what can I give Him?
I will give my heart.
Sing along with this beautifully illustrated Christmas video of “My Gift,” an adaptation of the final verse of “In the Bleak Midwinter,” found only on The Good and Beautiful Kids channel on YouTube.
The Story of the Song
“A Christmas Carol,” a poem by Christina Rossetti, was first published in January 1872. It wasn’t until 1906 that the poem became the beautiful Christmas hymn “In the Bleak Midwinter,” when composer Gustav Holst set it to music. Three years later Harlod Darke composed his own arrangement of the song. Both choral arrangements of the five-verse song are well-loved favorites among singers worldwide.
Christina Rossetti had a happy childhood filled with God, nature, art, and writing. While her Italian father taught at King’s College in London, her mother homeschooled the children.
All four siblings were highly creative. Christina began writing poetry as a child, and she enjoyed poetry-writing contests with one of her brothers. While her brother became a well-known artist, she continued pursuing poetry.
The Good and the Beautiful Language Arts Courses include several of her poems known for their imagery and imagination. In addition to “In the Bleak Midwinter,” she wrote the poem “Love Came Down at Christmas,” also commonly sung at Christmas.
And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.Luke 2:7
The first verse of “In the Bleak Midwinter” describes a cold, dark winter. While it probably wasn’t snowing at Jesus’s birth, Rossetti’s lyrics effectively express the emptiness of the world before Jesus entered it. While kings came from afar bearing gold, frankincense, and myrrh, and angels adored Him from above, her lyrics remind us that Christ wants only one humble gift—our love.
“In the Bleak Midwinter” Original Verses
“A Christmas Carol” (1872)
Verses 1, 2, 4 & 5
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.
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 Him: give my heart.
Download the PDF of the song lyrics and free Christmas coloring sheets. Give the heart-filled gift of song or art to someone you love this Christmas!
Looking for more free ways to give at Christmas this year? Visit our blog post “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” for 25 ways to share joy at Christmas, then download a free list of ideas.
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