Most people have heard and have even sung the Christmas Hymn, “What Child is this?” which begins, “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?” Now before you start singing the rest of the words, I invite you to stop for a moment and think about the question posed by the writer of what was originally a poem entitled, “The Manger Throne.” It was written by William Chatterton Dix, in 1865, who, at the time, was a manager of an insurance company. He had been going through a difficult time in his life. He was reading the Bible comprehensively, and while reading Matthew 2:1-12, he was inspired to write this poem, now known as the hymn we sing at Christmas.
But what of the question, “What child is this?” How often do we sing this song, and never contemplate it? How many times do we actually hear this song and other Christmas hymns played over the speakers in public places and not think about the words? I was in the bank this week, and over the speakers was playing a Christmas song that named the name of Christ. We sing and play the songs that tell of the true meaning of Christmas but miss the message. We are like those who, in the town of Bethlehem that first Christmas morning, were going about their evening and morning as the most important event in the world was taking place in their midst. They missed it, because they were not looking. Is this not Christmas for so many today?
So on this day, as you celebrate Christmas and play Christmas songs in the background, or sing along with them, think about the words and the questions they ask such as, “What child is this?” and the answers they give. “What Child is this?” is answered in the chorus: “This, this is Christ the King, Whom shepherds guard and angels sing. Haste, haste to bring Him laud, the Babe, the Son of Mary!” The best way to find the answer, however, is in the Bible – God’s Word to us. Luke 2:11 says that the angels who announced Jesus’ birth answer the question clearly … “for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” -Jesus was born to save us from our sin by paying the penalty that is due.
Now I know that does not feel very Christmas like, but this is why Jesus was born. This is what Christmas is about. It is about our salvation from sin. And in reality, if you celebrate Christmas without ever asking and answering the question, “What child is this?” and His significance to you, it is clear that you need Christmas more than ever. And you need to understand that Christmas looked to the crucifixion where this baby, who was Immanuel, God with us, came and lived among us to take upon himself the wrath deserved by us – a wrath that your sin deserves before a God who, in His justice, must judge sin, and He did for those who would receive it, upon the Son. God offers to us, salvation in the Son, Jesus. The Bible says that “if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. 11For the Scripture says, ‘Whoever believes in Him will not bedisappointed.’” Romans 10:9-11.
“What Child is This?” He is the real gift of Christmas. Have you received Him? If you have not, you have missed Christmas, and God says His wrath remains upon you – John 3:35. My friends listen to the words!
Would you like to know more? Call us at (425) 432-0634. We would love to talk with you, pray for you, and help you discover God’s truth and hope for life. Join on Sundays at 9 am for Sunday School and 10:15 for the Main Service. We are located at 21110 244thAve SE, Maple Valley, WA. Find out more at taylorcreekchurch.org