This song is one of the most beautiful beloved carols that Christians sing during the Christmas season! As few other carols do, these lyrics prompt us to contemplate the identity, the Person and work, of the Babe in the manger. In fact, the carol politely but persistently presses us to answer the question: Who really is this Child? Is this Child truly a holy infant or a mere holiday infant?
When we think about that question, most of our reflections focus on the birth announcements in the gospel of Matthew and the gospel of Luke. Those passages certainly have their place. For this Christmas season, however, consider Christmas according to the Apostle Paul, as he reflects on the wonders of the birth of Jesus. Check out Galatians 4:4-5…
4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law,
5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.
The Apostle Paul tells us five extraordinary things about Jesus as answers to the question that the carol poses to us.
Jesus is the Almighty God, the Messiah for whom all of time had waited: “when the fullness of time had come.” Isaiah had prophesied that the Messiah would be the Almighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace.
Jesus is the Holy Child. He was born under the law, yet was without sin. Truly this Child was not merely a holiday infant: He was and remains the Eternal Son sent forth by His Father.
Jesus is the Perfect Savior. The Child was sent to redeem us. The holy infant would ultimately redeem us from our sins and make us heirs of God with Him.
Jesus is the Word made flesh. The Son of God was sent to be one with us in our humanity. Yet Jesus is a perfect representation of the Father. Jesus himself said, “If you have seen me, you’ve seen the Father.”
Jesus is the Triumphant King. In his resurrection, He triumphed over sin, death, and the grave. And when He comes again, He will come not in humility, but in power and majesty, as the Righteous Judge. As His Church, we wait expectantly for the time that He will take all of His adopted sons and daughters home to eternal joy and light!
What Child is this? He is the Child who is the Son sent forth by His Father, the Son who is now and will always be “God with us.” He is the Savior of the world.
This, this is Christ, the King, whom Shepherds guard, and angels sing.
Haste, haste to bring Him laud, the Babe, the Son of Mary.
Nails, spear shall pierce Him through, the cross He bore for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh, the Baby, the Son of Mary.