Advent 2023 · Love

In the Bleak Midwinter

By Tabitha Benedict

In 1872, an English poet by the name of Christina Rossetti published a poem that she entitled, “A Christmas Carol”. This poem was set to music in 1906 and placed inside The English Hymnal under a different name, “In the Bleak Midwinter”.

The middle of the original poem contains the lines:

Our God, heaven cannot hold Him
Nor earth sustain,
Heaven and earth shall flee away
When He comes to reign:
In the bleak mid-winter
A stable-place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty —
Jesus Christ.

This reminds us of the glorious magnitude within the moment of Christ’s birth. Our God, whom Heaven cannot contain, had come to the earth in the form of a child, arriving on the dusty floor of a cold stable. The irony is as thick as the pungent smell that must have clouded the animals’ stalls. And yet, our humble Savior wouldn’t have had it any other way.

The end of this poem also shares poignant words:

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,
I will give my heart.

No matter who we are, and no matter our nationality, economic status, amount of accomplishments, presence of talent, level of intelligence, or physical strength, God desires one thing: our heart.

About the Musician

Hailing from County Armagh, Northern Ireland, Tabitha Benedict could easily be mistaken for American-born-and-raised taking up banjo at age 12, but Tabitha has merely caught a musical wind from the west and made it her own. Tabitha has been nominated for the Instrumentalist of the Year at the IBMA Momentum awards in Raleigh, North Carolina in 2018. Tabitha was one of 16 chosen in 2018 and 2019 to attend the Savannah Acoustic Music Seminar, studying with world-class artists such as Julian Lage, Mike Marshall and Bryan Sutton and Darrel Scott. She can be heard performing with her two brothers in the Northern Irish band Cup O’Joe, and all-female Anglo-Irish Bluegrass Band Midnight Skyracer as well as with her husband David Benedict in their Folk/Bluegrass duo The Foreign Landers.

Foreign Landers —

Cup O’Joe —

Tabitha Benedict —