"In the Bleak Midwinter" began as a poem by 19th Century English poet Christina Rossetti and was set to music by the composer Gustav Holst in the first decade of the 20th century. While Holst's tune was the first the words were set to, Harold Darke composed his own tune only a couple years later. Both are considered traditional.
The words are touching and beautiful, and the sentiment very tender. The last verse is my favorite as it expresses very succinctly my feelings.
I won't tell you which tune is my favorite, but will instead let you decide for yourself. Here they both are for your listening pleasure. The first is Holst's tune; the second is Darke's. Both renditions are performed by the choir of King's College, Cambridge.
In the Bleak Midwinter
by the Choir of King's College, Cambridge
1. In the bleak mid-winter 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 mid-winter long ago.
2. 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.
3. Enough for Him, whom cherubim worship night and day,
A breastful of milk and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels fall down before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.
4. Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air,
But His mother only in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the Beloved with a kiss.
5. 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, give my heart.