In 1865, an Englishman named William Chatterton Dix penned the words to a poem entitled "The Manger Throne." A few years later the first three stanzas of that poem were set to the music of an English traditional folk song called "Greensleeves." That song soon became known as the beloved Christmas carol "What Child Is This?" This combination of poetry and music first was published in the United Kingdom in 1871. For close to a century and a half the question found in the title of this carol has become an annual reminder that something significant happened on that night in Bethlehem as someone special lay wrapped in swaddling clothes in a manger. This child would change the world forever; but what child is this? In the biblical Christmas story, the shepherds are among the first to learn of the birth of the baby Jesus. During the night the angels visited the shepherds and told them of Jesus' birth. A shepherd's job stretches on day and night without much to break up the monotony. No doubt it is difficult to stay awake through the night to watch for thieves and wolves. But had they been asleep, they would have missed the angels' message and the birth altogether. Staying awake, though, they were able to know about and meet the Christ child. What threatens your experience of Christmas? Will you miss the visit from the divine because you are too busy, too distracted, too stressed, or too tired? Stay awake this season so that you can discover for yourself, "What child is this?" Worship link: