Away in a manger, no crib for his bed, the little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head. The starts in the bright sky looked down where he lay, the little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.
Several years ago now, I was helping one of my nieces get ready for bed in the spring one night. I asked if she would like a lullaby and she requested this song. Unfortunately, I could only remember the first verse, so things got a bit repetitive after that…
What I had forgotten then, is that the most beautiful portions of this hymn come after the recounting of the Christmas tale. It is then that the author shifts the voice from a narrator to a believer. As it says, I love thee, Lord Jesus; look down from the sky and stay by my side until morning is nigh.
Though we do not know who the author of this beloved children’s hymn was (and scholars are now sure it was not Martin Luther), it is a wonderful opportunity to teach old and young alike about God’s presence in our lives. This is not just the story of a child born long ago. It is a prayer to that child for love and care.
The lyrics are simple, yet quite poignant. All of us can use a refresher course in what faith truly takes – and Jesus himself said that we must have faith like children. So may this be your prayer this day (as it is mine): 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 thy tender care, and fit us for heaven to live with thee there.
Reverse Advent Calendar: Be sure to find a child or family to “adopt” this season. Take that chance to shower them with gifts that fill their needs (including the need for joy) and hold them in prayer even after the presents have been delivered.