Every Christmas season we hear or sing the much-loved carol, “Away In A Manger.” Children along with adults know this particular song well. It has a simplicity and a beauty that makes it so very special. It speaks of the biblical text found in Luke 2 and reminds us of our Lord’s coming to earth, and being born of a woman. The song proclaims the Scripture that the “baby” who was “wrapped in cloths” and found to be “lying in a manger” was in fact “the little Lord Jesus,” born on that first Christmas morn.
It is not actually known who penned this treasured carol. Tradition claims that Martin Luther was its author, having sung it to his children each night before bed. It is believed that German mothers, following Luther’s example, also sang this song to their children. Truth be told, German mothers did not sing this song, at least not until they received it from …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). It’s likely we will never know the true author or the place of origin and the circumstances that led to the composition of this beautiful song, however, as has so eloquently been written of this song:
“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. They are a beautiful petition to grow closer to the Lord Jesus and for blessings upon our little ones. These are words that we all should desire to offer in prayer to our Lord . . .
Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stayClose by me forever, and love me I pray.Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care,And take us to 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.”
May the simplicity of the message of “Away in a Manger” ring in your ears and bless your Christmas celebration.
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