It started back in 2005, when I was still researching Christianity and not sure that I believed its claims. I’d be driving around, yapping into my cell phone, glaring at people who drove too slowly as I rushed to buy presents I should have bought weeks before, and then I’d catch sight of some nativity scene and all my racing thoughts would stop. For just a moment, I’d remember that I had a question to answer far bigger than what I should get my husband for Christmas.
During this time I always paused when I heard the song What Child is This?, its slow, ethereal melody sending chills down my spine, the simple question it asked seemingly whispered in my ear by something closer than the tinny mall sound system.
It haunted me, challenged me, to stop everything and consider the baby who was born in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago, to look at the manger scenes that dotted the winter landscape of my city, and ask:
What child is this?
When I thought of the implications of the answer, I was stunned to see that it was not only the most important question I could be asking right now, but the most important question I could ever ask. I came to see that if this child was who the Christians said he was, the question of his identity was the only question that really matters.
And even though I’ve now found the answer, the song haunts me still, because the question it states leaves another one unspoken:
Am I living like I really believe the answer?