TwistToday’s Word: ‘Twist” as in… it’s a bit of an twist that when it comes to William Chatterdon Dix, most of us wouldn’t recognize his name, but we would recognize at least one of his achievements.

William Chatterdon Dix was the one who, over a hundred and fifty years ago, penned the words to the hymn, “What Child Is This?” It’s equally a twist that the same thing could be said, but in reverse, about the baby in the manger—Jesus, about whom the hymn is written. While many may recognize his name, many in our culture are not necessarily certain what he accomplished.

We are still in the season of Advent—a season which, as we have acknowledged almost daily, is filled with an extraordinary amount of expectation and wonder. But with only a handful of days remaining before we enter fully into the joy of Christmas, we are tempted to just “give in.”

I know I am.

To be honest, and at the risk of sounding like the party-pooper, the twist of Advent is that the expectation and wonder of this time of year, for many people, is simply too much. After weeks, if not months of Christmas ramp-ups, countdowns, sales and specials, many people have only expectations of struggle and disappointment, and the only wonder left in these days is to wonder if they will even survive this ‘holly-jolly-jinglebell-rocked-Rudolph-and-Frosty-and-shop-’til-you-drop’ season.

At this time of year people talk about being over-stressed, over-spent, over-drawn, and overwhelmed. That Christmas is the “hap—happiest time of the year,” for many, is just so many lyrics in a song.

For some, the suggestion that Christmas is “the most wonderful time of the year” is simply too good to be true.

But having said all of that, I want to make the bold reminder that we’re called to just keep asking the question and singing at the same time: “What child is this?”

This, this is Christ the King, whom shepherds guard and angels sing; the babe, the son of Mary, hail, hail the Word made flesh, the babe, the son of Mary.”



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