For our Advent devotionals we are looking deeper at some of our favorite carols.
Today’s Scripture: Luke 1:46-48
46 Mary responded, “Oh, how my soul praises the Lord.
47 How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
48 For he took notice of his lowly servant girl,
and from now on all generations will call me blessed.
Today’s Carol: What Child is This?
What child is this, who, laid to rest, on Mary’s lap is sleeping?
Who 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 Christian, 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, one and all, to own him.
The King of kings salvation brings; let loving hearts enthrone him.
Raise, raise the song on high. The virgin sings her lullaby.
Joy, joy, for Christ is born, the bade, the son of Mary!
Why all the fuss? Usually around this time in December I’m asking myself that question. Why go to all the trouble of decorating? Why spend money on gifts? Why sing special songs and attend special parties (usually)?
This carol is asking the same question. What child is THIS – that angels sing and shepherds guard? What child is this that we make such a fuss every year? I think maybe a lot of people do not know the answer to that question. For them, the celebration of Christmas is cultural. It’s about getting together with family and having some time off and maybe seeing some excitement in kids eyes. But why the fuss, really?
The answer of course is the incarnation of Jesus and what that incarnation means for the world. Our carol reminds us of this fact in verse two: “nail, spear, shall pierce him through; the cross be borne for me, for you.”
It’s easy to spout off “Jesus is the reason for the season.” It’s much harder to see the cross in the manger. And yet – this is what all the fuss is about. This is the child who will die and be raised again. This is the child who brings us into full relationship with God. This is the child who makes all things new. This is the child who is the word of God.
So, let’s haste, haste to bring him laude – this babe – this son of Mary!
God in the middle of all the fuss, remind us of Easter. In the middle of all the activities and gatherings and things that have to be done, remind us of the cross and the empty grave. In the middle of all the celebration, remind us what child this is.