We have begun a new series “Christmas Carols: the message is in the song.”
There is deep theological meaning in many of these older carols that sometimes escapes our attention, we glibly sing the words but really don't know what we're singing. This week I want to examine the carol: “What Child is This?”
William Chatterton Dix (14 June 1837 – 9 September 1898) was an English writer of hymns and carols. He was born in Bristol, the son of John Dix, a local surgeon. At the age of 29 he was struck with a near fatal illness and consequently suffered months confined to his bed. In 1865 he was working as the manager of an insurance company when he was afflicted by an unexpected and severe illness that resulted in him being bedridden and suffering from severe depression. His near-death experience brought about a spiritual renewal in him while he was recovering. He is believed to have written “What Child is This?” in the Christmas season of that year.
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.
Dix’ carol poses interesting questions about the incarnation of the Christ Child that I view as being ironic. A King born incognito – without anyone, except for His mother and earthly father and a few shepherds aware of who He actually is? A King born in humble surroundings, in squalor and poverty in a livestock stable with feeding troughs and cattle dung… how can that be? A King born without royal subjects – except for an angelic host; but today includes all who recognize Him as the King of heaven who brings the hope of salvation to a lost world.
The King of kings salvation brings, Let loving hearts enthrone Him.
Join us in person on Sunday at 10:00 a.m. or livestream by going to https://www.firstbaptistsudbury.com and clicking on livestream for: “The Irony of the Incarnation.”
(Social distancing and face covering requirements are in effect)
Take heart and be blessed!