Pope Paul VI to the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Michael Ramsey

"(B)y entering into our house, you are entering your own house, we are happy to open our door and heart to you." - Pope Paul VI to Dr Michael Ramsey, Archbishop of Canterbury.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

What Child Is This?

This English carol is perhaps one of the best known among Filipinos. Written in 1865 by William Dix in his poem "the Manger Throne", after experiencing a bout of depression, the carol was eventually set to the tune of the 16th century Tudor era tune "Greensleaves". This rendering is by Charlotte Church.

There are two versions of the lyrics. The most popular ones do away with the reference to the Passion. But my Anglican hymnal has the other version which has

"Nails, spears shall pierce him through, the Cross be borne for me, for you. Hail, hail the Word made Flesh, the babe the Son of Mary!"

A reference to the Passion while telling the Nativity story is well within the English medieval tradition (see the post on the Cherry Tree Carol) which a materialistic and commercialized celebration of Christmas has lost. It is said that the Passion really began when the Word became one of us. Thus God the Son became one of us in exile. The baby was the target of human rights violators, an exile, a poor boy and grew up to be an ordinary man rejected by his own hometown. He was an innocent man and executed by crucifixion. But he was, is and will be Sovereign Lord of all that is seen and unseen! He was made man for our own sake and salvation.

Christmas Day will never make sense without Good Friday and Easter! The Babe's Kingdom shall have no end!

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