Day 2 of 12 Days brings us to the next song, What Child is This? Traditionally, this song is sung to the tune Greensleeves, but Sarah wrote a new tune for this one which helps us hear the song in a fresh way.
Like so many Christmas carols, the focus is entirely on Christ. Verse 1 begins with a question, the title, “What Child is this who laid to rest on Mary’s lap is sleeping?”
In other words, who is this? The answer comes immediately: “This, this is Christ the King!”
This sets up verse two which begins with another provocative question, “Why lies he here in such crude estate where ox and ass are feeding?” That is, if he is the King that verse one proclaims, why is he born with animals instead of a palace? The answer is profound! He’s here because he has come to humble himself and be obedient to death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2:8).
“Good Christians fear for sinners here, the silent Word is pleading.
Nails, spears shall pierce him through, the cross be borne for me for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh, the baby the son of Mary.”
Lastly, verse three answers the implicit question, how shall we respond to all of this?
“Bring him your incense, your gold, your myrrh (allusion to the Magi), come peasant come king to own Him,
He’s the king of kings and salvation he brings.
Let loving hearts enthrone him.”
Ah, there it is!
- What child? The King! (but without a throne)
- Why here in this manner? To die for us!
- What response shall we render? Let loving hearts enthrone Him!
Enjoy What Child is This?
Here’s where you can find the whole album.