What Child is This, Stanza 2
Why lies he in such mean estate,
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christians, fear, for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.
Nails, spear shall pierce him through,
The cross be borne for me, for you.
Hail! Hail! The Word made flesh,
The Babe, the son of Mary.
The version of this hymn that cuts out the second half of this stanza and uses the last half of the first stanza as a chorus drives me nuts. It also misses the point. We cannot separate the meaning of Christ's incarnation from the significance of his suffering, death, and resurrection thirty-four years later. That's why, for me, singing, "The little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes..." is a little absurd. Of course he cried! His was a life of tears. It was also, mysteriously, a life of joy.