“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”  (John 1:14)

William Chatterton Dix, in his familiar Christmas carol, asks the question, “What child is this?” It is a timeless question that must be answered by you and me.  On this first Sunday of Advent, it is appropriate for us to meditate on this question and its corresponding answer.

The three stanzas of this carol progress from asking this question, then moves on to explain who he is and finishing with what our response should be.  Regrettably, most of the modern versions of this carol expunge the very answer to the question from the song.  Most versions leave out the second half of the second stanza.  The full original version can be read below.  The video that is attached to this blog also has the original version.

Those omitted words give us a glimpse into the nature of Christ.  “Hail, hail the Word made flesh,” speaks of the eternal divine nature of Christ.  “The Babe, the Son of Mary,” speaks of his human nature.  He was the son of a human mother, Mary.  “Nails, spear shall pierce Him through,” speaks of the suffering that will accompany his life.  “The cross he borne for me and you,” speaks of his purpose for come.  The cross was not a mistake.  Jesus Christ was born to die.

What child is this?  This is Christ the King.  He is both the eternal divine Word (the Son of God) and the Son of Man (born of Mary).  His purpose for coming was fulfilled on the cross.  He suffered for sinners like me and you.

Let the answer to this question fill your heart and mind this Advent seaon.


by William Chatterton Dix

 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 he 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.