Christmas songs #15: What child is this?

This song is very straightforward. Confronted with the birth of a child, the song asks us, Who is this that is born and lying in a manger? Why are angels singing?

The answer begins as we would expect, with the affirmation that he is a King who has come. Come and praise him!

But there is a problem. If he is a King, why is he lying in a feeding trough? This is where the mystery comes in. He cautions us, “good Christians fear,” there is something sacred and serious going on here. This King is born to be crucified. This King is here to save sinners, including the “Good Christians” (for ME, for YOU). This king will be pierced by nails for his people. He is here to seek and to save what was lost.

All of this is summed up in one sentence in the third verse: “The King of Kings salvation brings.”

(To hear the song, click the link or paste into your browser. Finally, where it says “Don’t have a Rhapsody account?”, push “Play Now.”)

Lyrics (
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.

Why lies He in such mean estate,
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christians, 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 peasant, king to own Him;
The King of kings salvation brings,
Let loving hearts enthrone Him.
Raise, raise a song on high,
The virgin sings her lullaby.
Joy, joy for Christ is born,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

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