"What Child is This" & the Mystery of Light

December 25, 2013

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.

About the Music

"What Child is This" may be counted among some of our oldest Christmas melodies.  Set to the music of a medieval tune called "Greensleeves," it is a song that has stood the test of time and this is no surprise.  The melody is beautiful and so are the lyrics.

"What Child is This" dates back to a time, hundreds of years ago when the darkness of winter couldn't be banished by the flip of a switch.  Which brings to mind another kind of darkness and another kind of light.

About the Light

Two years ago, today, I had just returned from Israel.  The memory of the spiritual light I saw in the cathedrals of Jerusalem and spiritual darkness that surrounded them was fresh in my mind.  And this Christmas, it comes back to me.

There is a light in our Catholic Masses and in our hearts and in the child that came into the world two thousand years ago that defies all explanation.  But I think that this verse captures it.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. - John 5:1 NRSV-CE
Please enjoy the following renditions of "What Child is This," - a lovely contemporary version by Martina McBride, a recreation of the original medieval melody by Anonymous, and a new interpretation by violinist Lindsay Stirling.

Merry Christmas to you and yours and may God bless us all <3

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