“What Child Is This?”—from the Heart

At a prison worship service today, I heard an inmate sing “What Child Is This?” Not a performance by a trained artist but sung from the heart, if not from an even deeper place. And yes, it was on key too. An act of pure worship by one of the most serene men I know.

This inmate spent nearly 20 years “in the hole” (solitary confinement), but now he’s a man of presence and peace. He’s redeemed. An expert of the soul. And he’s about to be released prison. I cherish the performance I witnessed today.

Here’s another beautiful performance of the song, followed by lyrics.

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 laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary!

Why lies He in such mean estate,
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christians, fear, for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.
Nails, spear shall pierce Him through,
The cross be borne for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

So bring Him incense, gold, and myrrh,
Come peasant king to own Him,
The King of kings, salvation brings,
Let loving hearts enthrone Him.
Raise, raise the song on high,
The Virgin sings her lullaby:
Joy, joy, for Christ is born,
The Babe, the Son of Mary!

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