What Child is This?
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.
Whose kid is this?
It’s a question that has been asked as long as there has been language.
Sometimes it’s uttered in admiration. Like when someone wants to know who scored that goal from 10 yards out, or who was the actor in the school play that drew us to tears with their soliloquy?
Sometimes it’s exclaimed in disgust or annoyance, like the clerk at the store who has just seen his display crash to the ground as the result of some small curious hands.
Or perhaps called out in a moment of panic at the discovery of a lost child at a concert. The feelings of concern of people with no connection to this child before their relieved parents are found.
We have to think that “whose kid is this?” was asked by someone at the temple in Jerusalem when he was 12 (Luke 2:41-52).
The hymn “What Child is This” asks the same question. Who is this kid? This regular kid who is minding his own business sleeping upon his mother’s lap among farm animals.
Luckily this carol gives the answer. This child, “whom angels greet, whom shepherds guard, is the son of Mary.” He is also the one who will “through the cross be borne for me,” be “the King of kings (who) salvation brings.”
So rejoice, “Raise, raise the song on high, for Christ is born, the babe, the son of Mary”.
— John Sample