Keith Getty on the Christmas Hymn ‘In the Bleak Midwinter’

Keith and Kristyn Getty are modern hymn writers whose compositions are sung the world over. For more information on Getty Music and the Sing! initiative, visit http://www.gettymusic.com.


This carol is the creation of two extraordinary artistic talents: English poet Christina Rosetti and German composer Gustav Holst, best known for composing the orchestral suite “The Planets.” For me, this melody is the most beautiful of all the Christmas carol melodies.

In the second verse of the carol, Rosetti explores the contrast of the reigning Lord of all heaven and earth becoming a man and being born in the humblest of circumstances.

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

In fact, all the way through the original first four verses, Rosetti juxtaposes the divinity of Jesus with His humanity. And again, we are encouraged to look back in wonder at His birth as a baby 2,000 years ago, but also to look forward to the day when Jesus will come again and reign over the earth.

We sing this carol about half-way through the second half of our Christmas concerts. It’s always a special moment of devotion.

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Source: Baptist Press