"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?
-It is estimated that approximately 353,000 babies are born each day around the world. Odds are that most of them are pretty routine, pretty normal. But no doubt, some of them are total miracles: babies who beat the odds on any number of ‘abnormalities’ and that live on to take breath. I don’t know what the birth rate was back in first century Palestine, I don’t know how many babies were born on the day we celebrate today, but what I do know, is that in a small town called Bethlehem a child was born and when he was born, a birth came to be that was foretold and prefigured and prepared by God in the Sacred Scripture and Revelation for 4000 years, a star rested above a manger, and Angels visited shepherds and told them to go and follow the star. So perhaps there’s no big surprise that we begin with questions: who is this child? Who are the Angels singing about? Why are they singing? What is so special about this child; this baby?
Why lies he in such mean estate where ox and ass are feeding? Good Christian, fear: for sinners here the silent Word is pleading.
-And when they find this baby he is wrapped in a simple garment, and lying in a manger- a feeding trough for farm animals. And perhaps this is the greatest of all mysteries, and the basic of all questions: why the Star; why the Angels; who is the this child?
This, this is Christ the King, whom shepherds guard and Angels sing; Haste, haste to bring him laud, the babe, the son of Mary.
-This is her child, but he more than just her child. He is Christ, the King of the Jews. The prophecy foretold for thousands of years has come to pass and here is the long-awaited savior, the Messiah. He is not only the son of Mary; He is the Son of God- Jesus- He who will save us from our sins. He has not come with trumpet blast; he has not come with an army and fanfare; he has not lit the horizon on fire to signal his coming. No, he has come with as a Silent Word, and he is already pleading: come to me!
So bring him incense, gold and myrrh, come peasant, king to own him, the King of kings, salvation brings, let loving hearts enthrone him.
-So, come peasants, kings, fallen away Catholics, rich, poor, gay, straight, conservative, liberal, black, white, divorced, wounded, broken, and tired: COME and meet this remarkable baby; this tiny baby. He is here, in this Word, the very word that foretold his coming and that he himself spoke; teaching us, encouraging us, challenging us. He is here in this Eucharist: present to us to taste and see Him. He is here in this community: when we are gathered here He is present among us in our shared prayer, our shared blessings, and our shared pain.
So come, and don’t bring anything: you don’t need money, you don’t need to be holy; if you want to bring anything, bring your pain, your baggage and skeletons; bring your fear and doubt and anxiety and anger; bring your entire self and everything about you and hear what this tiny baby is whispering to each one of us, as he reaches us his arms to you: Hold me, enthrone me in your heart, and I will hold you.
This, this is Christ the King, whom shepherds guard and Angels sing; this, this is Christ the King, the Babe, the Son, our brother!