It feels so fresh, maybe it’s the first time. But it can’t be. Surely I know by now that not everyone remembers. The tiny dancer looks up at me with large, brown, inquisitive eyes. “‘What child is this?’ what a funny name for a Christmas song!”
A funny name? Surely she knows what child the song is referring to! And then, SMACK it hits me in the face! I can’t say anything because political correctness has completely maligned free speech. Here she is, this inquisitive, trusting child asking me the most important question in all of creation and I can’t answer her.
“Let me tell you about this child…”
The funny this is that as I’ve thought about how I would answer her I’ve realized that there is no easy, almost politically correct, stealthy way of slipping the answer in. No, the answer to “What child is this” delves into the deepest bedrock of the Christian religion. No wonder people avoid the true meaning of Christmas at all costs – even to glance at the answer from the corner of your heart would cost too much. Even to say the word “Christ”mas is too much.
“This, this is Christ the King whom shepherds guard and angels sing! Haste, haste to bring him laud, the babe the son of Mary.”
Of course the version I was using in dance class was from Charlie Brown and had no lyrics. Just enough of a hint, I’d thought, to remind the kids that Christmas is about more than presents. It went right over their heads.
In the secret of my mind I try to break it down for her: The child is Jesus. Jesus is God and he was sent from God – this opens the whole Trinity can of worms.
Why was Jesus sent? Enter the whole sin discussion… This is so complex!
And why do we give each other gifts at Christmas? Because Jesus brought grace and that is the most extravagant gift ever given. So we give gifts in memory of that first gift of Christmas.
What is grace? It means that, although you do have to accept that you’re not perfect and you have a fatal flaw which is your sin, you no longer need to try to be perfect. You only need to accept the one who is.
“Nails, spears shall pierce him through, the cross he bore for me, for you. Hail, Hail the word made flesh, the babe the son of Mary!”
Jesus loves you and he came at Christmas to make a way for you. Not only a way for you to get to heaven but a way for you right now.
A way through the darkness and the loneliness and the suffering that is this life. Not a way away from that pain, but a gift to carry you through it. The gift is Himself – real and present with you now and always. He is the way, the truth and the life – for real. He loves you and you should love him back.