The Sixth Carol of Christmas

         I must apologize, my friends for missing the last three days. Things got rather busy. Anyhow, at first I was worried...how would I make up the extra days. Then this afternoon I realized something....the world won't come to the end if there are only nine carols of Christmas this year, and my dear readers will give me slack seeing that I'm trying to finish up Principles of Harmony while having just played a large role in my sister getting married.

       Shortly after lunch today, my two youngest brothers aged 12 and 9 went about paying me some money they owed which amounted to two dollars each. The older one, Tobias, came up first and deposited two crisp dollars in my hand saying seriously, "here you are, those are brand new by the way." Not a minute passed before the other one, Benaiah, came dashing up the stairs after having spent some time hunting down his wallet. "Two very crumpled dollars coming right up," he said with a smirk, smashing the worn bills into my hand. I couldn't help letting out a giggle at the boy's way of putting things, but then it struck me suddenly how different the two were. Tobias would never dream of losing his wallet and is very proud of new, neat, clean things, even when it comes down to one dollar bills. Benaiah throws his stuff about anywhere there's a physical space for it, and finds a lot of his rather unconventional ways, including the fact that he was handing over crumpled money, rather amusing. This reminded me of the fact that every single person has his own unique perks and characteristics which make him completely different from every single other person, and I wondered if Jesus had any interesting quirks....that sounds rather foreign to those of us of the protestant persuasion and I assure you my friends I have no intention of supposing any sort of theology off of what can only amount to useless speculation, however, it did make me think of the Christmas carol "What Child is This."

   Not much is known about this well-known English carol written in  1865 by William Chatterton Dix. They say that Dix, an insurance company manager, had been struck by illness and underwent a spiritual revival during which he wrote the lyrics for this beautiful carol. The tune, Greensleeves, goes back to at least the sixteenth century.

"What Child is This?" Dix asks rhetorically, but continues to answer the question anyway, "This, This is Christ the King." 

 The second verse of the song has always been my favorite, as Dix asks again, "Why lies he in such mean estate where ox and ass are feeding?" But then he goes on and says something rather profound, "Good Christian fear, for sinners here, the silent word is pleading."And then in case anyone had any doubt as to what Dix meant by the silent word, he goes on to clarify, "Nails, Spear shall pierce Him through, the cross be born for me for you. Hail, Hail the word made flesh, the babe the son of Mary."

   How often do we remember that Jesus is the Word. That the Word "became flesh and dwelt among us." There, as a babe lying in a feeding trough, the Silent word was pleading for us sinners. What a sobering thought.

   Of all the different individuals out there in the world, of all who have ever been born, there is One who stands out from everyone. One who was destined to truly save the world. The babe, the son of Mary.

One note...I picked the version above because the harmonies are simply magnificent, however, they treat the the second half of verse one as a chorus and use it as such for the three verses omitting the second half of verses two and three....it was a trade-off! Below I share the three verses in their entirety.



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 donkeys are feeding?
Good Christians, fear, for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.
Nails, spears shall pierce him through,
the cross he bore 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.

        Indeed we ought to raise a song on high this season, if for no other reason than joy that Christ was born, the babe the son of Mary.

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