One of the sweetest Christmas carols, loved by people of all generations, is Away In A Manger. It has often been considered the Jesus Loves Me of Christmas Carols. Because the author of the song was anonymous and because it was first published in a German hymnal in the mid-1800’s, people assumed the carol must have been written by Martin Luther. In fact, around the world, people began to call the song Luther’s Cradle Hymn.. However, there is no real proof of Luther’s authorship so the original source of the carol remains anonymous.
The beauty of Away In A Manger lies in its sweetness and simplicity. In a few verses, the carol shares about how God lowered Himself to be born among us in humble, crude circumstances. No wonder the lyrics basically pray: “Be near Me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay close by me forever and love me I pray.”
I remember praying those words many years ago when my wife and I experienced a significant loss. In the midst of my grief, I attempted a personal planning session for the musical worship for an early December worship service. One of the songs we were to sing was Away In A Manger. As I sang the words, sadness overwhelmed me and I broke down in tears. I prayed then sat for a long while, contemplating the lyrics of the song and the love of God the Father who sent God the Son to be our God with us. I remembered the words of C.S. Lewis, “Once in our world, a stable had something in it that was bigger than our whole world.” Before my preparation session was over, I had written these two new verses for Away In A Manger:
No Longer A Baby, He grew to a man
Sent to us from Heaven to fulfill God’s plan.
He died on a cross to atone for our sin
Then rose from the dead to be alive again.
This Precious Lord Jesus Is All That We Need,
If We Make Him Our Savior and Our Lord Indeed,
O Please, Wondrous Jesus, Be With Us Today,
Fill Us With Your Spirit, We Now Humbly Pray.
Click here for an worshipful medley of Away In A Manger and Worthy Is Your Name by the Maverick City Gospel Choir featuring Kim Walker Smith and Chandler Moore
*Image Courtesy of Walter Chavez
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