Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Sing Christmas Dec 10

Away in a manger,
no crib for a bed,
the little Lord Jesus
laid down his sweet head.
The stars in the bright 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 side
until morning is nigh.

Be near me, Lord Jesus;
I ask thee to stay
close by me for ever,
and love me I pray.
Bless all the dear children
in thy tender care,
and fit us for heaven
to live with thee there.

Author uncertain – see below!

Who wrote this carol? No one is sure. The first two verses seems to have first appeared in the May 1884 issue of The Myrtle, a periodical of the Universalist Publishing House in Boston, Massachusetts. They were then printed in an 1885 Lutheran children’s hymn book, on the 400th anniversary of Martin Luther’s death, which may have been why people started attributing the carol to Luther himself. The third verse was added either by William James Kirkpatrick, who first arranged it, or Dr John McFarland. Whatever the truth, it has become staple fare for any children’s nativity service or play.
It is a bedtime prayer, a classic lullaby, full of comforting images. The idea that “the little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes” is rather unrealistic – no real human baby is like that – but perhaps it reflects the universal prayer of tired parents for an undisturbed night’s sleep!
It endures, despite its rather saccharine tone, because its central hope is one that is basic to people of all ages; that we are not alone, but watched over by someone who loves us.

·         Do you recall your parents singing lullabies to you? Did you / do you sing lullabies to your own children if you have them?
·         There is an ancient prayer for those “who watch or wait or weep this night.” What has kept you awake at nights? How do you deal with sleeplessness and the fears that often provoke it?

Bible Reading: Cast all your cares on God, because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5.7


  1. Molehil7:05 am

    Thank you Yet again Anne for this series. This has certainly evoked memories of childhood nativity plays , complete with the tea towel headdresses and angels with tinsel hair bands and cardboard wings! Every morning I look forward to seeing which Carol is being featured. Thank you.

  2. I'm sure that tea towel manufacturers rely on Christmas to keep their businesses afloat...
    I have seen more nativity plays than most; countless baby Jesuses picked up by one leg or abandoned in the manger, a greatvariety of animals (species probably depending on what costumes people happen to have), children with various degrees of keenness about being there. In the end, though, Away in a Manger always seems to bring a moment of stillness, and a reminder of the essense of hte nativity - a tiny baby and a great deal of love.