As the Northeast is preparing for a winter storm, and as the cold rain is falling outside my window, the song “In the Bleak Midwinter” came to mind, particularly the first verse:

“In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,

earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;

snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,

in the bleak midwinter, long ago.”


Growing up in Indianapolis, Toronto and Derby, Connecticut I was familiar with snowy winters. But where Jesus was born? In the Holy Land? Yes. Yes, Virginia it does snow in the Holy Land.


When traveling around Bethlehem at the end of 2014 or start of 2015, it snowed! Inches! This picture is of a creche at a Palestinian Christian church in Beit Jala, one of the towns in the Bethlehem Governate of the West Bank. What an unexpected joy to experience.


Here in Clemson in the pandemic year of our Lord 2020, we prepare. We anticipate with joy the celebration of the birth of the Christ child.


“Heaven cannot hold him, nor…. earth sustain;

Heav’n and earth shall flee away when he comes to reign,

In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed

the Lord…God Almighty, Jesus Christ.”


God’s peace, justice and hope,

Pastor Jon