What Child Is This?

I love Christmastime. I mean, I really LOVE Christmastime. I love the lights, the music, the fragrant spices, the secrets hidden all over the house.

For millennia mankind has celebrated joyous occasions by feasting on delicious food and sending gifts to friends and family. (Esther 9:19, for example)

And why do we celebrate?

Because of a tiny Child.

What Child is this who, laid to rest on Mary’s lap, is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet while shepherds watch are keeping?

This Child, sleeping in His mother’s arms like any other child. Except He has an audience of quiet, reverent, awed shepherds; and angels–angels!–announced His birth.

This, this is Christ the King, whom shepherds guard and angels sing!

Christ, the Anointed One. The King of heaven and earth. He is the Child sleeping in His mother’s arms.

Haste, haste to bring Him laud, the Babe, the Son of Mary!

Why are we so slow, so shy to give Jesus praise, when He is the King of the universe?

Why lies He in such mean estate, where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christian fear: for sinners here the silent Word is pleading.

Why is the King in such a poor stable with an ox and a donkey crunching feed in the background? Why not a palace?

Because few of the people He came to save live in palaces. Most of them live in poverty, or just get by tolerably. And this tiny King is not afraid to associate with them.

Even now, His very presence pleads with them to turn to their loving Creator.

Nails, spear shall pierce Him through,
The cross be borne for me, for you.

He will bleed to save them.

Hail, hail the Word made flesh, the Babe, the Son of Mary!

Why are we so slow, so shy to bring Jesus praise, when He has bled for our salvation?

So bring Him incense, gold, and myrrh;

Incense, because He is God. Gold because He is royal. Myrrh, a burial preparation, because He will die.

Come peasant, king to own Him.

Everyone, no matter your status. Come.

The King of Kings salvation brings; let loving hearts enthrone Him.

That’s where the King of Kings wants to establish His throne–in the hearts of those who love Him.

Raise, raise the song on high!
The virgin sings her lullaby.

Can you imagine the first songs of praise for Baby Jesus? The angel’s chorus. And Mary singing, like any mother sings to her baby.

Joy! joy! for Christ is born, the Babe, the Son of Mary.

Why are we so slow, so shy to lift our voices and sing to the One who has brought us such joy?

I find such immense depth in the lyrics to this song, and I’ve just touched a bit on the things I see in the words. Here are the complete lyrics, uninterrupted by my musings. And this is my favorite recording of “What Child Is This?”

What Child is this who, laid to rest on Mary’s lap, is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet while shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King, whom shepherds guard and angels sing!
Haste, haste to bring Him laud, the Babe, the Son of Mary!

Why lies He in such mean estate, where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christian fear: for sinners here the silent Word is pleading.
Nails, spear shall pierce Him through, the cross be borne for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh, the Babe, the Son of Mary!

So bring Him incense, gold, and myrrh; come peasant, king to own Him.
The King of Kings salvation brings; let loving hearts enthrone Him.
Raise, raise the song on high! The virgin sings her lullaby.
Joy! joy! for Christ is born, the Babe, the Son of Mary.

-Miss Darcy

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