I’ve always thought of this carol as a great lullaby. This is a song that you have to start on a higher note since it starts at its high point. (Do I sound like a musician!) I’m picturing the hand motions I’ve taught children over the years to help them remember the words to the song. I love how spending time with each of these Christmas carols has opened up the flood of memories!
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.
What if we said the lyrics as “a way” instead of “away”? That gives us a whole different meaning. In the case of baby Jesus, he certainly was the “way”. He said himself, in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” Our “way” to God the Father was laying in that manger bed.
Take some time to just wrap your head around that. Imagine an infant’s head, with such a delicate, precious smell, you can’t help but coddle. This baby would grow up to be your way to a relationship with God.
The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes,
but little Lord Jesus no crying he makes.
I love you, Lord Jesus; look down from the sky,
and stay by my side until morning is nigh.
Transport your thoughts back to the stable scene. It’s not a quiet place, especially with the animals wondering why in the world humans would want to be there. I’ve always been curious why Jesus didn’t cry at being startled awake. Most babies I’ve been around cry.
But Jesus wasn’t just any baby. He had created the cattle along with the rest of creation as we read in John 1:1-5. Could it be that he, being God as well as man, recognized the cows’ voices?
Be near me, Lord Jesus; I ask you to stay
close by me forever and love me, I pray.
Bless all the dear children in your tender care,
and take us to heaven to live with you there.
Do you say a prayer before you get out of bed each day? I didn’t used to, but David and I have made it a beautiful morning “ritual” to pray together before we get out of bed. After all, who knows what sorts of distractions we may confront once those feet hit the floor. Our prayers aways include something like the words of this verse.
I suppose if this is a lullaby, then this may work even better as the prayer we say as we’re drifting off to sleep. Either way, I think we can agree that keeping Jesus near is a good thing. Just knowing I’ve got Jesus is a comforting thought.
I don’t have to be fearful of what I might encounter. Sure, I’ll encounter challenges and frustrations, but it’s how I handle those encounters that matter. I don’t have to fear or be bothered by them, unless I choose to. I can trust Jesus. It’s a constant struggle to keep the focus on Jesus because the enemy is crafty, but the reward is priceless.
When we feel that fear or doubt creeping in, here’s a great passage to cling to. Romans 8:31-39. Nothing can separate us from the love of God.
Let’s pray. Thank you, Lord, for sending Jesus as a precious baby so he could experience the world we live in. I thank you, too, for the promise that nothing can separate us from your love. Help me to face distractions and challenges head on knowing you are here beside me. In Jesus’ name. Amen