2020 Advent Devotional – Day 8


What Child is This?
Words by William Chatterton Dix, 1865

“This, this is Christ the King”

Video: What Child is This?


This arrangement of William Dix’s hymn picks up on the themes from yesterday’s carol, emphasising the poverty into which Jesus was born. The two carols share a sense of amazement that Jesus is born into such circumstances, to experience and understand the hardness of life.

And yet this experience is central to the life of Jesus, who God made to become one with us, to live as one of us. This is not God apart from humanity, apparent but ultimately out of reach, to be viewed and revered from afar.

This instead is God immersed in humanity, knowing the dirt on the stable floor, the growl perhaps of a stomach still wanting for more. This is our God, caring for us extravagantly and embracing our very lives. Our God grieves with the depth of our pain, soars on the heights of our joy, enfolds us with the strength of his peace.

This is a personal and intimate God, longing to know us deeply and wholly, to greet each morning in our hearts, to end each day in our thoughts. This is Christ the King, not of a palace but of our very being.

This is Christ the King, who transcends both the world and the divine. Thus, the outcast and shunned shepherds will guard him while tributes flow down from heaven, sung by angelic choirs, surrounding him in honour.

And we are called to join in: to guard Christ in our hearts, to honour him in our living, and most of all to praise him. To let praise burst from our lips in song and heartfelt worship, to let our praise resound into the world as we go about our days. This is Christ our King, who belongs with us and abides in us. Praise be to God.

Exalted God,
Christ the King, be also the Lord of my heart. Nurture me each day to recognize your abiding presence. Inspire me each day to lead my life with your love and to be guided by your forgiving grace. In my quiet moments let me recognize the calm of your peace. In my joyful times help me remember the glory of your love. And in my periods of despair, let me praise your eternal comfort and strength. Amen.


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?
This, this is Christ the King,
whom shepherds guard and angels sing:
Haste, haste to bring him praise,
the babe, the son of Mary.

If you’re enjoying the carols each day, there’s now a YouTube playlist you can listen to that contains all the carols shared so far. The playlist will grow as the devotional series progresses, with each day’s carol being added. By Christmas Day, you’ll have the perfect soundtrack of worship and praise.  Click here to listen.

Thank you for joining us on this prayerful path through Advent.
Blessings and best wishes for 2021.

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