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Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. ~ Isaiah 7:14
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Christmas Song Lyrics
Compiled by Charles P. Scott

Away in a Manger

Performed by Pentonix
Away in a manger, no crib for His 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 poor baby wakes.
But little Lord Jesus no crying He makes.
I love Thee, Lord Jesus! Look down from the sky.
And stay by my cradle 'til morning is nigh.

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.

About This Song
The origin of this popular Christmas hymn is shrouded in apocryphal associations with Martin Luther (1483-1546).

First, the facts. Methodist hymnologist Fred Gealy (1894-1976) noted that “evidence suggests that [“Away in a Manger”] is wholly an American product. The original two-stanza form probably originated among German Lutherans in Pennsylvania about 1885.”

Indeed, most sources note that the hymn first appeared with two stanzas in Little Children’s Book for Schools and Families, a Sunday school collection published in 1885 by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in North America.

Stanza three first appeared unattributed in Gabriel’s Vineyard Songs (1892), compiled by gospel composer Charles H. Gabriel (1856-1932). Gealy conjectured “the song may have been contributed by an editor or publisher who thought the two narrative stanzas needed to be supplemented by a prayer.”

Stanza two notes, “the little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes.” Modern society knows that a baby who does not cry is a cause for concern. Hearing a baby’s cry at birth is a joyful sign of life. If the suggestion in the hymn is that the baby was a kind of super infant whose divinity overshadowed his humanity, then we may be moving into the realm of Gnosticism, suggesting that even in infancy Jesus had special knowledge.

The stanza concludes: “I love thee Lord Jesus, look down from the sky and stay by my cradle till morning is nigh.” This proposes a comforting concept that Jesus is watching over children, especially at night when children are more vulnerable and subject to manufactured fears of imagination. In the 18th and 19th centuries, even adults were thought to be closer to death while asleep. Though that notion is less accepted today, the idea of Jesus as a comforting presence is certainly an appropriate understanding for a child.

The final stanza, added later, follows the pattern of many hymns by using the form of prayer, petitioning Jesus’ presence in the first part of the stanza and blessing of “all the dear children in thy tender care.” The final petition requests that Jesus would “fit us for heaven to live with thee there.” This stanza would seem to indicate that all of us are Christ’s children by baptism and our eschatological hope lies in heaven.

In spite of controversies of attribution and perhaps a bit of slippery theology, this little gem of the season is still sung each year with fervor and joy.
The article this excerpt was taken from was
written by Dr. Michael Hawn of Sacred Music at Perkins School of Theology
Click here to read the entire article

A blessed and wonderful Christmas to all of you.

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