Introduction to the United Methodist Hymnal Version of What Child Is This
What Child Is This is a popular Christmas carol of unknown authorship, which dates back to 16th-century England. It first appeared in 1871 as part of the United Methodist Hymnal and has since been featured in hymnbooks of other major denominations such as the Presbyterian Church (USA) and Anglican Church. The traditional tune for this beloved carol is “Greensleeves,” originally an English folk song.
The origins of What Child Is This are shrouded in mystery, much like many other ancient Christmas carols, but there are several theories that propose a possible source. One theory holds that it originated as a poem written by William Chatterton Dix, an English insurance broker turned Christian minister who wrote over 60 hymns before his death in 1898. Another theory proposes that the author was John Stainer, an English composer known for composing oratorios and popularizing music from the Middle Ages up until his death in 1901.
Regardless of its origin story, What Child Is This has become a beloved classic among worshipers around the world throughout its centuries-long existence. This song speaks to our love for baby Jesus, asking questions about His purpose yet still proclaiming faith no matter what He may be on Earth to do. Its lyrics evoke images of reverence and surprise at His Nativity—the King fittingly sleeping not in fancy chambers but amongst lowly animals within an unassuming stable—and that imagery can strike an emotional chord among believers: “Why lies He in such mean estate/Where ox and ass are feeding?”
Fortunately for devotees of Christian music around the globe, the United Methodist Hymnal contained a version of this revered traditional song when it published 1871 edition; those unfamiliar with this tune now get introduced to it through exposure within worship services during Advent and Christmas season every year without fail. As with all songs and hymns found within the Hymnal’s extensive repertoire
Examining the Theology Behind the Lyrics of What Child Is This
What Child is This? combines two pieces of music – a traditional English melody and a 19th century poem. The poem was written by William Dix in 1869, which adds a spiritual layer to the song as its focus is on the divinity of Jesus Christ. The piece speaks directly to the moment when Mary and Joseph are presented with baby Jesus at the manger– setting off a cascade of emotions so deep that it could be understood as nothing less than miraculous.
The lyrics ask “what Child is this,” suggesting uncertainty in their meaning; however, they also provide clues to the answer. Several lines paint an image of infant Jesus in swaddling clothes – referencing his birth into humble circumstances which counters most people’s preconceived notion of what the Messiah should look like and where he should be born. Through these lines, Dix invites us to consider that God could choose to come in any form or place – even in one as unexpected as a stable in Bethlehem beneath figures such as shepherds & kings from afar.
The song continues by focusing on how important it is for believers to remember salvation came through His sacrifice for sins and sorrows; allowing us entry into Heaven if we accept His grace and share our love with others around us. In the chorus there’s purposeful parallelism between how He chose to enter this world: “no crying he makes” – hinting towards His divine nature, because even then He was unconcerned with reward or recognition as only a God made perfect servant could understand this concept during such extraordinary times. Ultimately, What Child Is This celebrates both man-made mortality & divine immortality embodied together in one Body: Jesus Christ Himself, who continues today providing hope for all those drawn towards Him and giving grounds for unconditional faith amidst an otherwise uncertain world.
Uncovering Historical Meaning Surrounding What Child Is This
What Child Is This? is an English Christmas carol that has been around for centuries. It was originally published in William Chatterton Dix’s 1865 hymnal, “The Manger Throne”. The song is about the wonder of Jesus’ birth as seen through the eyes of those present at the time. The words and melody were inspired by a traditional 16th century English folk song containing the lines, “Lully, Lullay, Thou little tiny child.”
This Christmas carol has consistently been popular since its appearance in Dix’s hymnal over a hundred years ago. However, despite its catchy phrasing and popularity throughout history, it still remains shrouded in mystery. Who wrote it? What does it mean? When was it written? These are a few of the questions to which scholars have yet to find answers.
Researching various historical documents reveals some clues about this beloved carol. First of all, scholars believe that What Child Is This? originated from an old English poem entitled “Lully Lullay” by Thomas Bullokar published in his 1595 work titled Proverbes or Adages in Englyshe with their French Translations & Moralizations VVhere unto is annexed Some other Workes concerning Both Languages … In this version, Bullokar references Mary wailing at Jesus’ tomb “whose ChildArt Thou?” Later on he regales tales linking Herod’s massacre of innocents to Jesus’ birth with Mary weeping “full sore.”
William Chatterton Dix composed his words to be sung along with music to match the original poem’s meter and rhyme scheme when he included them into his 1865 hymnal titled “The Manger Throne” . He added some interesting ideas such as mentioning “God rest ye merry gentlemen,” implying rejoicing over Christ’s incarnation where most earlier songs focused on grief surrounding Jesus’ death on a cross prior
Exploring How Different Christian Denominations Interpret What Child Is This
What Child Is This is a classic Christmas carol. It asks a question about the identity of a child wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger – is he Jesus, a newborn King? Different denominations of Christianity have different interpretations of What Child Is This?
Catholics see this as ample evidence that Jesus was born miraculously out of “Divine intervention”. From their perspective, He had been pre-ordained by God long before His birth to be the savior of mankind. Thus, they consider the newborn Christ Child to be worthy of worship and reverence.
On the other hand, Protestants deny any miraculous aspect surrounding Jesus’ birth — His being part divine —and instead focus more on acknowledging Jesus’ wisdom and teachings instead of placing undue importance on his supposed divinity or unique ancestry from God’s lineage. In this instance then, they may regard the child merely as one chosen by God to bring salvation to humanity without admiring Him too overwhelmingly from an earthly perspective beyond that which serves their beliefs in doctrine.
Most Evangelical Christians align closest with Catholics – though not always perfectly – when it comes to interpreting What Child Is This? Similar to the Catholic interpretation, Evangelicals view Baby Jesus as a special being – either instinctively or learned through study – sent directly from God Himself with special intentions for mankind; most famously manifesting Himself through redemption and salvation through belief in Him alone unlike other world religions which usually require ‘good works’ or fulfilling certain moral duties besides belief in order to find favor with God. As such, these Christians take solace in pondering what was meant by stressing just who this special infant was and why He deserves thanksgiving expressed through song like with What Child Is This? At its heart it represents praising God for sending His own son into our world so that we could have eternal life if we believe in him as expressed via The Bible verses referred to within its lyrics.
Discussion on How Singing What Child Is This Has Impacted United Methodists
For many United Methodists, the carol “What Child Is This?” has become an integral part of the Christmas season. It is a tradition to sing the song annually in churches around the world. But why has this particular carol been so influential among United Methodists?
First, let’s consider its musical composition. The melody for “What Child Is This?” can be traced back to 16th century England and is attributed to composer William Chatterton Dix. While there are multiple versions of the song today, all follow the same basic melody composed by Dix. Additionally, “What Child Is This?” is set to the tune “Greensleeves” or else known as “What Child Is This Who Laid To Rest On Mary’s Lap Is Sleeping.” This evocative and beautiful piece of music reaches across borders and denominations helping create a feeling of unity among Christians each December.
Within United Methodist congregations throughout North America, congregants can connect with one another through shared verses of this beloved song at each church service held during Advent season leading up to Christmas Day. Many lifetimes’ worth of collective memories have been created by singing together as one centered on telling Christ’s story from Luke 2:8-14 sung in “What Child Is This?.” During these services, individual singing voices come together harmoniously in a way that unites present generations with those who have past before them; some observers cite this inclusive conveyance as that which makesUnited Methodists unique from other sects within Christianity.
Finally, it should also be noted that beyond their broad usage amongst groups of worshippers who celebrate Christmas yearly (freely or traditionally), “What Child Is This?” serves as a reminder outside religious ceremonies that despite our human differences we can often join ourselves harmoniously through music like this beloved classic carol all year round – experienced by people spanning cultures throughout centuries
Concluding Thoughts on How Connecting with the Message of What Child Is This Enhances Faith
What Child is This is one of the most popular Christmas carols in the world, and its beautiful message of hope, love and peace speaks to people from all generations. People who connect with its unique message are often given a greater understanding of their own faith and spirituality, deepening their relationship with Jesus.
Connecting with the message of What Child Is This can help deepen our faith in numerous ways. First, by resonating with its core themes – love, joy and peace – we are able to appreciate God’s gifts all year round. We not only celebrate these values at Christmastime but throughout our everyday lives too.
Second, connecting with the lyrics reminds us that Jesus is here for us even when times are difficult or uncertain. He is truly a source of comfort and hope when facing any difficulty or challenge we may face as his followers. Third, it reminds us that Jesus wants us to share this message with others who may not yet know him; he cares deeply about spreading his good news to everyone he meets!
Finally, connecting with What Child Is This strengthens our belief that our faith makes a difference in the lives of people around us; something small such as singing a carol could be life changing for many! So take time this holiday season to reflect upon the powerful words found in these timelessly-loved Christmas songs – let them draw you closer to Jesus so you may better serve him through your faith!