This version by Shawn Colvin has long been my favorite. I was considering posting other versions like I did yesterday with Fairytale of New York, but, no. This is my favorite version and I really don’t even enjoy most of the others I’ve heard because I keep thinking, “But Shawn Colvin’s is perfect.”
According to Wikipedia:
“In the Bleak Midwinter” is a Christmas carol based on a poem by the English poet Christina Rossetti written before 1872 in response to a request from the magazine Scribner’s Monthly for a Christmas poem. It was published posthumously in Rossetti’s Poetic Works in 1904 and became a Christmas carol after it appeared in The English Hymnal in 1906 with a setting by Holst.
Also, some people take their carols very seriously, my friends:
Hymnologist and theologian Ian Bradley has questioned the poem’s theology: “Is it right to say that heaven cannot hold God, nor the earth sustain, and what about heaven and earth fleeing away when he comes to reign?”
But have no fear!
However I Kings 8.27, in Solomon’s prayer of dedication of the Temple, says: “But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you.” Regarding “heaven and earth fleeing away”, many New Testament apocalyptic passages use such language, such as II Peter 3. 10-11: “The heavens will disappear with a roar, the elements will be destroyed by fire… That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.” So Rosetti is wholly biblical except, perhaps, for the description of snow and frost at the birth of Christ, which owes more to Dickensian tradition than to the New Testament!
Also, I had no idea this poem/song was by Christina Rosetti. I’m rather fond of the Rosetti siblings, if I do say so myself. Learn something new every day!