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  • “For today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths, and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:11-12 – NASB)

Every Christmas season we hear or sing the much-loved carol, Away In The Manger. It is a standard of the season. Children along with adults know this particular seasonal song maybe more than any other that is sung during this time of year. It has a simplicity to it and a beauty to it that makes it so very special. It speaks of our biblical text and young and old are reminded by it of the miracle regarding that “baby” who was “wrapped in cloths” and found to be “lying in a manger” that first Christmas morn.

 Away in a manger, no crib for a bed, 
    The little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head;
    The stars in the sky looked down where He lay,
    The little Lord Jesus, asleep on the hay.

 

    The cattle are lowing, the Baby awakes,
    But little Lord Jesus no crying He makes.
    I love Thee, Lord Jesus, look down from the sky,
    And stay by my cradle till morning is nigh.

It is not actually known who penned this treasured carol. Tradition claims that Martin Luther was its author.  It has been told that he, “sang it to his children each night before bed.” It was envisioned that German mothers, following Luther’s leading, sang this song to their children also. Truth be told, German mothers did not sing this song until they actually received it from its actual place of origin…the United States.

According to one source, the author of the first two stanzas of this carol is unknown while the third stanza has been credited to Thomas McFarland (1831-1913). As has been written, “Regardless of its author, the beauty of this carol is the beauty of Christmas. It is simple. Christmas is not the gold or glitter, the wrappings or trappings. It is the story of God humbling Himself to become a baby, born in crude circumstances to a young woman in ancient Palestine.”

Simple . . . yes . . . simple.  Yet oh so very special in its wording, as it speaks to us of the miracle of Christmas. No matter your age, the words at the end of this song are ones that each of us should ponder and certainly desire to offer up in prayer to our Lord . . .

 

    Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay
    Close by me forever, and love me I pray.
    Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care,
    And fit us for heaven, to live with Thee there.

 

It has been said that this often-sung carol embodies what Christmas is really all about. I am certain of this, that one particular part of it should surely be something that each one of us is in strong agreement with . . . “I love Thee, Lord Jesus.”

Have a good day.  And, as you go throughout this advent season, may the simplicity of the words of this treasured carol bless your Christmas celebration.

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