"What Child is This" & the Light of Christmas

December 24, 2021

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.

About the Music 

“What Child is This” may be counted among our oldest Christmas melodies. Set to the music of a medieval tune called “Greensleeves,” it is a song that has stood the test of time and this is no surprise. The melody is beautiful and so are the lyrics. 

Like many of our traditional Christmas customs, "What Child is This" dates back to a time when the darkness of winter couldn’t be banished by the flip of a switch and people labored to keep the home fires burning.

Which brings to mind another kind of darkness and another kind of light. 

About the Light 

On this day, two years ago, I had just returned from Israel. The memory of the spiritual light I saw in the churches of Jerusalem and the spiritual darkness that surrounded them was fresh in my mind. 

This Christmas the memory returns to me.  And with it comes a conviction that Christmas isn't really about gifts or gratitude or even goodwill - though all of those things are part of it.  

Instead, to me, Christnas is about light - the light that came into the world two thousand years ago and is with us still. 
The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it – John 5:1 NRSV-CE 

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas <3 

Please enjoy this recreation of the original medieval melody of "What Child is This" by Anonymous and a newer interpretation by violinist Lindsay Stirling

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