Saturday, December 18, 2010

In the Bleak Midwinter

What can I give him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would give a lamb;
if I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
yet what can I give him: give my heart.

The words stream from the speakers, and I am reminded of another year. Suddenly I'm back in a cozy living room where a fire crackles and two friendly dogs rest in front of it. Outside is cold and winter. Inside is filled with the warmth and friendship the Midwest does so well. My children play with a pirate ship on the hardwood floor at our feet. We are gathered around the piano practicing for the Christmas program at church.

I first learned this song while the Professor was in school. The family that introduced me to it also lived it so well. I don't remember any physical gifts they gave, but the rich variety of their service touched my heart as they shared theirs. More than once they fed us. They regularly bounced my babies during church while I listened. They shared thoughts and ideas freely. They showed us how to raise delightful, interesting children while nurturing a deep marriage. They focused on what matters most rather than what is easily seen. The husband taught my toddlers. His class helped them love going to church. And he appreciated their unique personalities. (When we moved, Young A went through withdrawal.) He helped me fix my broken mixer, all the while treating me like an equal and letting me help. How grateful I am for the beautiful way they live! When I was poor in so many ways, they taught me to give what matters most: my heart. Each time I hear this song, I am reminded.

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