Day 9: What Child Is This

by Dec 9, 2020Christmas 2020, Devotional, Songs of Christmas

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?

So bring Him incense, gold and myrrh,
Come Peasant, King to own Him
The King of Kings salvation brings,
Let loving hearts enthrone Him.

This, this is
Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and Angels sing
Haste, haste, to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

Oh, raise, raise a song on high,
His mother sings her lullaby.
Joy, oh joy for Christ is born,
The Son of Mary

Ipulled in the parking lot of the Salvation Army, my chest tight with anxiety. It was just a few weeks before Christmas, and local families in need were picking up their Christmas boxes. Glancing around, I was acutely aware that my shiny minivan and my clothes, though not new, made me stick out like a sore thumb. Even so, like everyone else, I had arrived not to give, but to receive.

We were at the tail end of a heart-breaking season that had taken a toll on our family’s finances, emotions, health and spirits. The previous year, my husband’s business start-up had failed, resulting in the death of his dream, months of unemployment and a frustrating job search. He had finally found a full-time job with benefits, but the wait for his security clearance meant that we were facing our second December in a row without the means to even pay our monthly bills, let alone purchase Christmas gifts. When my neighbor offered to add us to the Salvation Army list, I protested. Surely there were other families who were more needy. But at her insistence, I reluctantly agreed.

Entering the building that day was incredibly humbling and I had no idea what to expect. As I walked across the parking lot, I poured out my frustrations to God. I don’t want to be here! Why haven’t you provided for us? This is not how I pictured Christmas this year. When I entered, I was stunned to be led to a cart piled with a half-dozen large red and green tubs. Back at home, I discovered in wonder that the tubs were filled to the brim with clothes, gifts and food.

The familiar carol “What Child Is This” describes the humble birth of the Christ child, pointing to the strange juxtaposition of the King of all Kings sleeping next to the feeding animals. I can imagine Mary addressing God in a similar manner to my own, as the she realized that her baby’s delivery was imminent. I don’t want to be here! Why haven’t you provided for us? This is not how I pictured the birth of my son, the Messiah. Yet in spite of her potential questions, Mary moved in obedience to the plan God unfolded.

We serve a God who specializes in using humble circumstances for His glory. That day in the Salvation Army parking lot, I could have let my pride keep me from experiencing an incredible blessing for my family. Two thousand years ago, God used a lowly, filthy manger to cradle the richest blessing the world had ever known.

Day 16: Silent Night

Silent night, holy night All is calm, all is bright 'Round yon virgin Mother and Child Holy infant so tender and mild Sleep in heavenly peace   Silent night, holy night! Shepherds quake at the sight! Glories stream from heaven afar; Heavenly hosts sing Al-le-lu-ia!...