Today is Christmas. As I was thinking about what or if I would share today or tomorrow, the words of Away in the Manger kept coming back to me. Away in the Manger is one of the most well-known spiritual Christmas songs, taught to every boy and girl that enters a church building and those who enter as adults learn it quickly too. It tells the story of those moments right after Jesus was born to Mary and Joseph in the little town of Bethlehem some 2000 years ago:
“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.
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 till 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.”
It’s such a simple song and yet it says so much in these 3 short verses. I know Jesus knew what He was getting into when He agreed to come to earth, and yet I feel like this was a big reality check for Him, on whatever level He understood being fully Divine even though He was a fully human baby.
This song shares a bunch of similarities between Jesus’ story and ours. We all start where Jesus started, although most of us start in a better place than a straw manger with stars as our overhead view. We all are going to face some hardships and challenges in our lives. We all need our sleep. And we all want at least one person to be there with us through it all.
We all have things that we wished we would get this Christmas, some got luckier in that regard than others. Some of us do struggle with our housing and having people who support us in our lives, and maybe we feel as vulnerable as baby Jesus sounds in this song. But we can be assured that Jesus will stay with us and care for us, and the evidence is found in the fact that He did come to earth some 2000 years ago on Christmas and stuck around to die on a cross and rise again three days later.
As you thank others for the gifts they gave you today and throughout this holiday season, make time to thank God for the gift of Jesus, and for Jesus being the best gift ever.