“Away in a Manger”

19 Dec

“Away in a Manger”

Away in a manger
No crib for His bed
The little Lord Jesus
Lay down His sweet head
The stars in the sky
Look 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 take us to Heaven
To live with Thee there

Dear God, I most associate this song with children bits not really a children’s song, but I think there’s something about it that is comforting to children. It’s almost like a lullaby.

I was thinking about this song yesterday and thinking once again about your alternatives for Jesus’s earthly experience. I say once again because this is something I’ve thought about before.

In terms of Jesus’s family you could have chosen a wealthy family. You could have chosen to make him David’s actual child. You could have made him the child of the high priest. You had a lot of choices. If you’d have asked me to lay out the plan I’d have probably picked the best high priest I could find. That would make sense, right? Instead, you chose a girl and a man who seemingly had nothing going for them. But you needed not only their humility and character to be Jesus’s parents. You also needed the flexibility and obedience. They had to be willing to escape to Egypt to avoid Herod. Also, Jesus in the home of an important person would not have grown up with an up close and personal look at the poor.

Then there’s how he was born. “Away in a Manger.” Why were the only witnesses shepherds? Why was he in a barn, sleeping on hay? Would it have been so bad to have been in an inn? Starting with the shepherds, I just love the fact that they are they ones the angels went to. They didn’t appear to the church leaders and say, “Unto you is born in the city of David…” They didn’t appear to Herod. They went to shepherds. And even though the Bible indicates that after they saw the baby they went all over town telling people, it doesn’t appear that the word really got out about Jesus. It says in Luke 2 that “all were amazed” when they heard the shepherds’ story, but I have to wonder if they weren’t respected enough to really be believed. But by appearing to these guys and having them show up, I’m sure it was a huge encouragement to Mary and Joseph. And you know my theory that Mary and Joseph had probably been camping near Bethlehem and might have even been known by the shepherds. I’m sure they knew that particular barn.

Father, all of this is to say, your ways are not my ways, and your wisdom is much grander than mine. I would have done this very differently and it would have been a mess. So as I look at my own life, the personal and professional decisions I have to make, and even how I evaluate the decisions of others, help me to lean not on my own understanding, but to lean into your wisdom and listen for your still, small voice.

In Jesus’s name I pray,


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Posted by on December 19, 2019 in Christmas Hymns, Hymns and Songs



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