What Child Is This?
s not the season for arguments, but rather for warmth, generosity, family, fellowship, even a little indulgence of what at times can be dangerous – sentimentality. And Christmas is not only December 25 – in the traditional Christian dispensation – but an Octave (8 days, ending January 1). Prior to Vatican II, observances could last as long as 20 or 40 days (and still do for the Traditional Latin Mass, until the Presentation of the Child Jesus in the Temple).
As was – and is – only fitting, since it’s not every day that the God who made Heaven and earth, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the long-awaited Messiah, becomes man and dwells among us.
But other days come, eventually. And in our current culture, the question in the title above arises, inevitably, for a growing number, even during Christmas. That question is, of course, related to another – later in the story: Who do men say that I am?
Not for us simply, as for Peter: “Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.” (John 6:68–69) For many people today, even many who “identify” as Christian, the default answer now is, at bottom, “I don’t really know.”