"Unity without verity is no better than conspiracy." - John Trapp

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Favorite Carols - What Child Is This?

There is a different version of this carol than the one below, where the end of the first stanza becomes a chorus. Doing that, however, loses some wonderful words at the end of the second and third stanzas. So I'm presenting the older version here as found on Cyberhymnal.
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 Christians, 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 a song on high,
The virgin sings her lullaby.
Joy, joy for Christ is born,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

PS - When I was a young heathen, my favorite Christmas songs were Silver Bells and Do You Hear What I Hear? What is missing from these songs is the substance of the carols that I now prefer to hear/sing. I'm not saying that they are bad, but they represent more of the culture we have built around Christmas than what the church intended to remember on Christmas day. Notice the references in What Child Is This? both to Jesus' kingship and to His cross. Those are the reasons Christmas is so important.

Enjoy the cultural celebration of Christmas, just don't forget why the Baby is so significant that we are still celebrating His birth over 2000 years later. Have a blessed Christmas.


Blogger Chris said...

Ah, my favorite carol of all time. Even when I was a heathen, I loved this one. For me it had to do with the musical aspect, though. The sad thing about being a musician is that you end up in a LOT of Christmas events, but you're playing the music rather than singing it. So it's only been recently that I've spent time trying to learn the words to some of these wonderful carols. Knowing the words to this one has only made it more meaningful to me. :)

1:36 AM EST  

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