This Advent I have been inspired by the Carols of Christmas. Each week a new song seemed to capture my imagination. Before moving into the new year I have one more to share with you. It is my favorite - What Child is This.* It is actually hard to find a good version of it to add to your Christmas playlist. It is not as popular as Joy to the World or Hark the Herald Angels Sing yet the haunting melody versed with a question always grabs me.
This child, Jesus, comes while we are longing for the promised hope. He comes before the test results are back, while the healing is yet to come, before the pain is fully soothed, before the problem is resolved, before the answer to our heart’s cry is known. What Child is this? Will he understand? Will he make a difference? Will he be the one — the Savior?
The song, What Child Is This, seems to articulate this as it comes to us in a minor key. That minor tone feels real. It gives voice to both the joy and the sadness of Christmas. Things are not yet as they should be. Each stanza is a progression — the words start by asking about this baby Jesus and finish by praising his name. It is the question we are to work out in the new year and forevermore because even a lifetime will not be enough to discover the depths of who He is.
As we come to the end of one year and begin a new, let’s acknowledge the sadness and the struggle and whatever deep longing remains within us. And then we can move on and remember anything worthy of praise for the great gift of Christmas is that God himself is with us. He invites us to give our hopes and our burdens to him. In that reassurance, we can bring him our laud — our praise. He is with us. Christ’s coming brings the power of God’s love, justice and mercy.
What Child is this…
This, this is Christ, the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing:
Haste, haste to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary!
* What Child Is This, lyrics by W. Chatterton Dix, Tune: Greensleeves