It's not, as we all know, really, at least astrologically, Mid-Winter. In fact, it's still, for a few more days, technically Autumn. Real Mid-Winter is late February when it (normally, and, oh, Goddess, please again this year!) begins to warm up along the Potomac and the crocus start promising to bloom.
But here in the magical Mid-Atlantic, we have ice (and flocks of Canada Geese) on the Potomac, an inch of snow in my garden, and it's so cold in the mornings that my knitting-sore fingers twinge and ache even inside leather gloves. The Earth in my garden is, indeed, hard as iron and the water in the small spring just up the street has frozen, hard as stone. Just this week, Landscape Guy and I got the plants cut back to the ground and a layer of mulch on the cottage gardens.
I'm working at home today: taking conference calls while I chop vegetables for pistou, reviewing applications for solar power while the dishwasher runs, furiously knitting cowls and hats for Yule. And, every so often, I stop and wrap my shawl around my shoulders and go out on the porch to watch the snow, throw some more peanuts to the squirrels, and toss carrot peelings to the rather aged rabbit who seems to be adopting me. (I told her, I did. I said, "Babe, there's a fox who lives up that hill and she'll be around here any minute. Fair warning and, if I were you, I'd go beg scraps from someone else. There's a nice lady up the street with no trees in her yard who'll feed you." The rabbit told me that foxes are her version of an ice floe, she knows where the fox is, and she'd still appreciate some carrots. So, who am I to argue; I peel another carrot for the soup and bring the scraps outside for my leggy new friend. Madame Fox, I hope you appreciate what I'm doing, in the end, pour toi.)
This wonderful song, with lyrics by the poet Christina Rossetti is one of a number of Christian songs that are so lovely that I just get past their Jesus gloss. And since, as we Pagans like to remind the Christians this time of year, they appropriated quite a bit of what they've got from us, it's not all that difficult. Heaven can't contain your god and he infills the material world? Welcome to my religion.
And, you've got to like a song that celebrates the fact that "a breastful of milk," is enough for a baby (isn't it great how that works out? ;) Because a breastful of milk is what most mothers have! ) divine and/or human. My favorite lines, though, are these:
But only His mother
In her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the Beloved
With a kiss.
We Pagans know a lot about worshipping with a kiss and, well, maiden mothers? We invented those.
And, as for:
Angels and archangels
May have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim
Thronged the air,
well, shoot, that's how I experience Air every minute of every day.
Stay warm. Feed the animals.