The Twelve Days of Christmas Carols
Christmastide Reflections on Songs of the Season
We are drawn each year to the manger. Like the children, youth, and adults at Come to the Stable here at our own church, many of us may have at some point in our life acted out the part of a wise man, shepherd, or angel whose dramatic destination was that feeding box in the middle of a crudely assembled stable.
The contents of that manger give voice to a popular American Christmas carol, “Away in a Manger”. The editors of the Glory to God Presbyterian Hymnal tell us that this carol from the late 1880’s “probably originated among Pennsylvania Lutherans (giving rise to the mistaken assertion that it had been written by Martin Luther)”. There are two tunes generally associated with this text (we find them both in our hymnal as selections 114 and 115).
This beloved children’s song captures the hearts of God’s children across the age spectrum.
Away in a manger, no crib for his 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.
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 side until 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 fit us for heaven to live with thee there.
Dear God, as I feel your presence ever so close especially at this season, I ask you to let the love Christ grow in me daily. Amen.