Tuesday, December 20, 2016

#407, in which shepherds guard and angels sing

We're talking about "What Child is This?" today. I've always liked this one, and I'm not sure I can really place why. Maybe it's the tune, maybe it's the times and places I've heard it, I'm not sure, but I've always enjoyed this one.
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?
The question "what child is this?" is a rhetorical one. We all know who this Child is. We know why He is resting on Mary's lap. We know why angels heralded Him, and we know why shepherds came to watch Him.

Knowing all of this doesn't make it any less miraculous, though. Angels did herald Him. Shepherds, complete strangers in the countryside, did come to watch Him. Mary, a virgin, did give birth to Him. He came, He suffered for us, and He lives. It's an amazing thing. We aren't asking who the Child is when we sing this song, we're asking what sort of Child must this be to warrant so many amazing things happening.
This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and Angels sing
Haste, haste, to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.
I imagine those shepherds watched the manger scene with awe. These were common people, living ordinary lives, called to bear witness to something extraordinary. They probably kept that incredible memory with them throughout their lives. They may have told their children and grandchildren what they saw, or they may have kept those things in their hearts. No matter how they reacted, though, the experience was an amazing one.

Our experience may be similar. We are called to be witnesses of Him, and we may react with wonder. We may tell everyone we know, or we may treasure it up in our heart, but I imagine we are filled with awe, sufficient for us to also wonder what Child this is.

Previously in this series

Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming

Coventry Carol

The Holly and the Ivy

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Wexford Carol

I Saw Three Ships

We Three Kings

Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella

In the Bleak Midwinter

Little Drummer Boy

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