WHAT CHILD IS THIS?

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By Ada Nicholson Brownell

Can you imagine the chaos if identification on newborns in large hospitals disappeared?

“Whose baby is this?” nurses would say over and over as an expert checked tiny footprints.

“What Child is this?” often is asked near Christmas. William Chatterton Dix, struck with a near-fatal illness at age 29 asked the question. Confined to his bed for months in 1865, he looked to Jesus, the babe born in Bethlehem so many years before. Was the Christ child different from everyone else born into the world?

Some people put Jesus on the same level as Mother Theresa, Mahatma Ghandi, the Pope, Moses and other famous religious personalities. Some religions teach Jesus was a great prophet, but deny His deity. Author Josh McDowell says in his book, Evidence that Demands a Verdict, that Jesus can’t be identified as a great moral teacher because He claimed to be God. “He is either a liar, lunatic or the Lord.”

Who was the babe in the manger?

Dix searched for an answer to the question and wrote a song titled “What Child is this?” set to the music of Greensleeves, a 16th Century English tune.

Down through the centuries people asked, “Who is Jesus?”

Scripture reveals who the Child is. My Bible has 1,448 pages filled with the story of the Messiah-Redeemer—promised right after Adam and Eve became subject to sickness and death. God warned the couple if they ate of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, they would die.

Satan, taking the body of a serpent, told Eve, “You won’t die. It’s good. Try it.”

The couple took the reptile’s advice and the venom of Satan’s lie fills every urn and grave since then. Adam and Eve understood sin’s tragedy when they grieved at the grave of a dead son, killed by his brother.

Although God’s justice required severe consequences for sin, He promised redemption as soon as as the first couple disobeyed. Sin is so terrible God required blood to forgive it. Beautiful animals lay over altars, blood dripping over the stones, until God gave His one and only Son as The Promised Redeemer who showed up on earth in the body of a tiny baby.

Prophets testified about the details of the Messiah’s birth, death and resurrection thousands of years before He came.

Jesus was unlike any baby born. He was God in human flesh, yet we are invited to know Him personally. According to Rev. 3:19-21, Jesus stands outside the door to our lives and knocks. He says, “If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him. The last chapter of Revelation declares, “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.”

What Child is this? Humankind’s only hope.

©Ada Brownell 2013

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