Child Is This?
Kenneth W. Osbeck
The question asked in this well-loved carol must have been uppermost in the minds of those present at Jesus' birth. We can almost hear the question being asked from one to another as they gazed into the humble manger. How difficult it must have been for them to understand that the babe who lay in "such mean estate" was truly the promised Messiah. And through the centuries men have continued to ponder who Christ really is-how can He be fully God and still fully man? Only through divine faith comes the revealed answer.
He who is the Bread of Life began His ministry hungering. He who is the Water of
Life ended His ministry thirsty. Christ hungered as man, yet fed the multitudes
as God. He was weary, yet He is our rest. He prayed, yet He hears prayers. He
was sold for 30 pieces of silver, yet He redeems sinners. He was led as a lamb
to the slaughter, yet He is the Good Shepherd. He died, and by dying destroyed
How beautifully the triumphant
answer to this imposing question bursts forth in the refrain- "This, this is Christ
This thoughtful text was written by
William C. Dix, one of our finest lay hymn writers. While a successful insurance
salesman in Glasgow, Scotland, he was stricken with a sudden serious illness at
the age of 29. Dix was confined to bed for an extended period and suffered
deep depression until he called out to God and "met Him in a new and real way."
Out of this spiritual experience came many artistic and distinctive hymns, including
this delightful carol. It was taken from a longer Christmas poem, "The Manger
Throne," written by William Dix about 1865. The melody "Greensleeves" is a traditional
English folk tune.
"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?
Why lies He
in such mean estate where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christian, fear --
for sinners here the silent Word is pleading.
bring Him incense, gold and myrrh-come, rich and poor, to own Him;
of kings salvation brings -- let loving hearts enthrone Him.
This, this is Christ the King, whom shepherds guard and angels sing;
haste to bring Him laud -- the Babe, the Son of Mary."
Used with permission from Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions
Browse through CBN.com's Christmas Resource
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