Saturday, December 24, 2005

What Child is This?

This Christmas hymn is simply one of my favorites. It asks the question that must be answered, but is often ignored. Clearly, there is a lot of mere religion involved with this holiday season, but as believers we need to ask people this important question - exactly what child is this? What I especially appreciate about this hymn by William Dix (1865) is that it answers the question wonderfully. In fact, it is frankly dripping with opportunities to communicate the Gospel message. Let me encourage you to consider how you might use this hymn, or any other Gospel rich hymn, to share Christ with others. We often find ourselves with unbelieving friends, relatives, neighbors or co-workers during the holidays - in contexts such as these, a hymnal can provide a firm platform for presenting Biblical truth. A few years ago I developed a Gospel tract based upon this hymn. The contents of the tract are in the post below, and you are welcome to download a trifold tract version here - just print it, fold it and give it to someone who doesn’t know the Savior.


What Child is This?


Have you ever seriously considered this question - Who is this child so commonly celebrated at this time of year? Consider for a moment that familiar hymn of the same title: “What Child is This”. This hymn answers this most important question in every verse:


Verse 1. 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.

This hymn refers to Christ (Jesus Christ) as the King of whom the angels sing. How important this opening verse is, for it affirms very clearly the truth of the Bible, that Jesus Christ is the King of kings and the Lord of lords (Revelation 19:16, Philippians 2:5-11); it is this Christ Who is to be adored and worshipped (Hebrews 1:5-6). But how can it be that a child should be adored and worshipped? What is so special about this Christ Child? Consider the next verse of this Christmas hymn, for it further answers our questions:


Verse 2. 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.

This hymn calls Jesus Christ “the Word made flesh” just as declared in the word of God:


In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God... And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1, 14)

When the Scriptures declare that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us...”, it is clearly saying that the Eternal One (called the Word) came down from heaven and became a man. This Eternal Word was God Himself, as prophesied in Isaiah:


Isaiah 9:6: 6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

Jesus Christ is God the Son who dwelt in human flesh so that “nails, spear, shall pierce Him through: the cross be borne for me, for you.” Those who believe in Jesus Christ the Savior will never perish, but have forgiveness of their sin and receive eternal life. Those who deny or ignore Him are judged already (John 3:16-18):


John 3:35-36: 35 “The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand. 36 “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

The child who is called “Mighty God” (Isaiah 9:6) came in order to die on a cross for the sins of men, in order that those who believe in Him may have eternal forgiveness, life and joy. Is it your desire to entrust your life to the Savior - to believe in Him and be forgiven of your sins? The Lord is gracious and full of mercy. He freely forgives and saves those who come to Him in faith. If you have a Bible, please look with us at the following passages in the New Testament:



  • As Creator and Master of the universe, God deserves all of our love and obedience: “Worthy are You [God] to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things” (Revelation 4:11)

  • Sadly, mankind has sinned and rebelled against this worthy God. - Romans 3:23 “..all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Because of man’s sin, he is eternally separated from God and -”..the wages of sin is death..” Rom 6:23.

  • Man is eternally separated from God and faces the severe consequences of eternal death - though man deserves this death (because of sin) something must be understood - “ ..God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8.

  • Christ paid the debt that men owe by living a perfect life and dying on a cross in the sinner’s place. Having been raised from the dead He now freely forgives all who place their faith and trust in Him. But how does one receive this wonderful pardon and life in Christ? - “..if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved;” Romans 10:9. Jesus said “..God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16). The Lord Jesus also said - “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18).

Seek the Lord in prayer today and give your life to Him in faith. If you have any questions about this most important commitment, please contact us at thearmoury@triad.rr.com. May God richly bless you and your family! May you have the true joy that is in Christ alone:


Verse 3. 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 the song on high, the virgin sings her lullaby; joy, joy for Christ is born, the babe, the son of Mary.