Away in a Manger

Away in a manger, no crib for a 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 in 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 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.

I love the traditional old carols, don’t you? The Christmas season brings back these beautiful little songs to be sung each year to get us in the mood of celebrating the birth of Jesus. Of course, the lyrics, sweet and lovely as they are, just simply aren’t true.

There wasn’t deep snow in Bethlehem when Jesus was born (The First Noel), and when Jesus was a baby, I am sure he cried when he was wet, hungry or upset.  The three wise men didn’t arrive at the manger hours after Jesus was born. Poetic license allows for these pictures to remain in our collective psyche to form a sweet narrative about the birth of Jesus.

I will keep singing these carols not because they contain actual true statements, but because they are traditional reminders- culture carriers if you will- that Jesus came to earth as a baby to start his redemptive mission.

Let’s remember that Jesus humbled himself to become a human being, and to have a life filled with all the physical and emotional anguish that life can bring. He can relate to us in every way. He cried when he was hurt, he had to grow in wisdom of relationships, and he had to be taught and encouraged by those who loved him.

Yet his mission was special and God-ordained. Only he could do it. And he chose to do it because of his great love for us.

Prayer: Lord, how can we thank you for the gift we celebrate at Christmas! Amen

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