May Israel Ask: “What Child Is This?”

By David Ettinger

It’s a worthwhile 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?

baby manger

The answer is filled with eternal significance: This, this is Christ the King!

These, of course, are the first five lines of What Child is This? the beloved Christmas hymn penned by William Chatteron Dix in 1865 to the music of the sixteenth century English melody Greensleeves.

In the century and a half since the writing of this hymn, millions of people yearly during the Christmas season have asked this same question: “What Child is this?” They ask this question because it is at this time of the year that millions make their token visit to church. If the church is a good one, the Gospel will be presented. If presented, millions will be confronted with the momentous question:…

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