What Child is This?

Loving this Christmas Devotion I’m reading from Mandisa!! Today’s hit home!

About 250 years ago, at age 29 and bedridden due to a near-fatal illness, William Chatterton Dix wrote the lyrics to the Christmas carol “What Child Is This?”. We know the words well: What child is this, who laid to rest, on Mary’s lap is sleeping…This, this is Christ the King, whom shepherds guard and angels sing. Haste, haste to bring him laud, the babe, the son of Mary. That last bit sounds strange to a modern audience. Haste, haste to bring him laud [praise]? In other words, hurry up and praise Jesus?

Upon reflection, those words sound strange. Make haste to praise him. But upon reflection, those words put worship in a new light. An urgent light. Think about worship how the psalmist did in Psalm 119:171, as an overflow: “May my lips overflow with praise.” Worship is an overflow of love.

And when you love someone, you spend your time differently. For example, if you know you are going to spend an afternoon with your love, you make the most of it. You show up early, you plan your time together to ensure you have the maximum amount of face-to-face interaction. You are not going to waste a minute taking a long route to her house or running errands on the way. You will be knocking on her door promptly. There is a sense of urgency about you. An innate desire to make haste.

With Jesus, it is the same. It’s like having the one you love always waiting for you to arrive. There is not a set time or hour; he is always there and we, as those who love him, are consistently making haste to knock on his door and worship him.

Of course we don’t always make haste to worship. The feeling of urgency may rarely be present. We may even drag our feet more than we rush to his door. I wonder if 250 years ago, William’s haste was onset by his impending death. He lay in a bed, unsure for how long, and what did he choose to write about? Worship, and worshiping now. His days could have been few; he didn’t have time to shuffle his feet to the throne.

If we lived like this, like our days were few, we would probably run to throne as well. Jesus wants us to “Come unto me,” he says (Matt. 11:28) And he will never stop saying it. No matter how slow we are moving, no matter how little haste we are making, he wants us. And when we know that and fully feel wanted by him, we will run to worship him.

“Let praise flow from my lips, for you have taught me your decrees.” Psalm 119:171

“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

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