By MitchellNails, 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.
You might not recognize this, but it is the chorus to the second stanza of the Christmas favorite, "What Child Is This."
Listen carefully the next time you hear it on the radio, when it's being performed by Josh Groban or Sarah McLachlan or SheDaisy or Carrie Underwood or any of today's pop stars. Look at the words in the hymnal when you sing it in church. Is this the version you hear?
It's a shame if it isn't, for these words show how the gifts of the three kings - gold, incense and myrrh - foreshadow the events to come. It serves as a reminder that while Christmas is a wonderful thing - the coming of God made man, after all - that it is much more than presents and decorations, than lovely songs and beautiful Christmas trees. It is about Christ's mission on earth, which will inevitably culminate in His suffering and death on the Cross on Good Friday, and His Resurrection on Easter Sunday. It is a reminder that our own salvation depends on that suffering, and there is no way around it.
Here's a version that does feature those lyrics. It's performed by the Choir of King's College, Cambridge: