By David Mathis
“What Child Is This?” is no chart-topper among the children. The minor keys and slower pace make it less engaging to little ears. It’s hard to compete with the brightness, cadence, and pep of “Jingle Bells” and “Joy to the World.”
And that repeated rhetorical question is puzzling to a child’s undeveloped sense of artistry. “What child is this?” It’s Jesus, of course. Why do we keep asking that when we all know the answer?
Nails, Spear Shall Pierce Him Through
But many of us eventually grew out of our childish disillusionment with the carol. For some, it’s even become a favorite. Especially those steeping their minds in the Scriptures. It’s that powerful couplet in the second verse sounding a note too neglected during the holidays.
Nails, spear shall pierce him through,
The Cross be borne for me, for you.
“But this is Christmas,” someone objects. “Lent has its turn each spring; let Advent have its own spot in December. Don’t crowd out the joy and jingle with such death and violence. Let’s not have Lent and his cross upstage Advent and her manger.”