Away In A Manger

Do you enjoy seeing nativity sets? I do. In fact, you could probably say that I collect them. Except that I have intentionally stopped getting any because I don’t have a place to put any more. I love seeing the variety of ideas the have formed in artists’ minds when they are creating a nativity set.

From a beautiful blue and white porcelain set to a Native American version that I have seen, there are many beautiful works of art out there. Each year when we are decorating for the holidays, the girls get to each choose one of the nativity sets to put out. They also each get a small one that is all in one piece to put in their rooms. (I think they like nativity sets as much as I do!)

Having these around does not increase our attention to worshipping Christ at this time of year. It does, however, make me stop and think a bit about what that scene might really have looked like. I doubt there were horses and cows and camels and sheep all sitting quietly while the wise men handed gifts to a newborn baby in straw and a manger. I do imagine it was smelly and stinky. I wonder if Mary’s heart wished for something different for her baby. I wonder if Joseph worried about the health of a newborn in a barn. I wonder when they were able to get out of there and into a “real” home. I wonder how long it really took the magi to reach them – a few months, a year, two years?

I am so thankful that Mary was obedient to God. That Joseph was obedient to God. And that God was faithful to fulfill His promises. Where would we be today if any of that had happened other than according to God’s plan? I am so thankful I don’t have to find out.

This carol is kind of like the nativity sets to me – it makes me wonder what it was like there in the stable.

Away In A Manger

words: unknown, 1885
music: William J. Kirkpatrick in 1895

1. Away in a manger, no crib for his bed,
The little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head;
The stars in the heavens looked down where he lay,
The little Lord Jesus, asleep on the hay.


2. 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 till morning is nigh.


3. 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.



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