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by David Jordan

What Child Is This?

The haunting melody of Greensleeves likely begins either just during or right after the reign of King Henry VIII. With possibly some Italian Renaissance tonal influence, the tune now serves as the musical conveyance of familiar words:

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?

And with a subtle but clear shift in the melody, the poetry offers a history changing answer:

This, this is Christ the King
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing
Haste, haste to bring him laud
The babe, the son of Mary

As our season of Advent moves now toward our fourth and final Sunday, may the ringing answer within the haunting melody of our lives be as clear and true for you this week and every week:

This, this is Christ the King, the babe, the son of Mary.

Love incarnate; God among us; Emmanuel. Amen.



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