The Popular Christmas song, written by William Chatterton Dix, “What Child is This?” asks the all important Christmas question:

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?”

We do well to ponder the question and seek the answer. Why is it that after 2,000 years we continue to reflect upon the birth of this child? Why is our world divided by the years before this child and years after, BC & AD? The song responds to the question:

This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and Angels sing
Haste, haste, to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.”

Benjamin Handy was another poet who posed a similar Christmas Question:

Who is He in yonder stall,
At whose feet the shepherds fall?”

His response is somewhat similar in that he emphasises the supernatural natural of this child but he goes further in that he calls upon us all to worship the him, as the Shepherds and Wise Men did long ago:

” ‘Tis the Lord! oh wondrous story!
‘Tis the Lord! the King of glory!
At His feet we humbly fall,
Crown Him! crown Him, Lord of all!”

Yes, the child wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid out in the manger is “Christ the King” and “The Lord of glory”. We must look beyond the nativity scenes and romantic images and understand the true importance of the one who came; who still demands our hearts.

Thousands of years ago, Isaiah the prophet, was gifted with a most remarkable insight into the child of Bethlehem:

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)

In Isaiah’s day the world was in a state of upheaval. The Assyrians were conquering, pillaging, massacring, seizing nation after nation. Babylon was rising as a new power in the east whose power and scope would be even greater. His was a world who needed one who was called Wonderful, who would do marvellous things and who would bring peace and harmony.

When the child was born the Romans were the dominant world power. The Jews were without their national independence. Yet, the Messiah, of whom Isaiah had written, came and He was rejected, being crucified by a conspiracy between the Jews and the Romans. In the words of John the Apostle:

“He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” (John 1:11)

Our world needs this Messiah, now more than ever. Personally hearts are breaking and distraught. Only Christ can heal this brokenness. Nationally peoples are divided socially and racially and in a thousand other ways. Only Christ can bring harmony and cohesion. Internationally the world is becoming increasingly uncertain. Only Christ is “The Prince of Peace.” Yet His message continues to be rejected and some condemn Him to the dustbin of irrelevance.

But if this child was born to die for our sins, as the gift of God to a fallen and broken humanity? If He rose again and His resurrection was verified by many witnesses? Then the message of ‘peace on earth, good will to all men’ is the greatest and best news of all. This is exactly what the world needs, what you need and and what I need. He is is the answer. Christ alone. Nothing but Christ. No-one but Christ.

He remains the one who demands an answer. The Shepherds and the Wise Men worshipped Him. Pilate and the Jewish religious leadership hated Him. What is your response to Jesus Christ, the gift of Christmas? The writers of the old Latin Carol captured this truth so eloquently:

O come, all ye faithful
Joyful and triumphant
O come ye, o come ye to Bethlehem
Come and behold Him
Born the King of Angels!

O come, let us adore Him
O come, let us adore Him
O come, let us adore Him
Christ the Lord”

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