He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber. Indeed, he who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps. The Lord himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade. (Psalm 121:3-5)
Read: Daniel 9:1 – 11:1, 1 John 2:18 – 3:6, Psalm 121:1-8, Proverbs 28:27-28
Relate: Away in a manger, no crib for a bed, the little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head. The stars in the sky looked down where he lay, the little Lord Jesus asleep in the hay…
So begins the lyrics for what is the second most commonly known Christmas carol of all time. It trails only Silent Night and to be honest, the beef I have with this song can also be laid at the feet of that more popular refrain as well. But that’s a rabbit trail. Ever since its inception, Away in the Manger has been wrongly credited to Martin Luther. What is now believed is that the song was written specifically for that Protestant saint’s 400’th birthday and then credited to him as a marketing ploy. No earlier instance of the song is known.
Either way, whoever did write it, either didn’t have any kids of their own or was not very involved in their care. “The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes, but little Lord Jesus no crying he makes.” Really? Really? Can any mother attest to a baby waking suddenly in the middle of the night and not crying? Is such a thing possible? If Jesus was fully human, I am pretty sure he cried. Think about it. He would later be preaching to audiences close to or more than five figures large long before the advent of sound systems. In my opinion, the baby that would become that man had a set of lungs on Him and plenty of practise using them.
React: Jesus coming to be fully human would mean that He slept, woke crying, pooped, and got hungry and cranky just as any other baby would. But the Psalmist says that the God who watches over Israel never sleeps or slumbers. Does that mean Jesus could not have been both man and God? In answer to this, I would look back to a later event in Jesus life. He had spent the day preaching and miraculously feeding thousands of people. The man was tired. So Jesus headed below deck, curled up and began some pretty heavy sleeping.
A storm comes up and the disciples get scared. One goes below and kicks Jesus awake crying out, “Don’t you care that we’re all going to die?” When Jesus rubbed the sleep out of His eyes, He turned and said, “Oh you of little faith…”
Even though Jesus was physically dead to the world, He was still watching over His own. In the same way, those newborn hands that could barely grasp their mother’s finger still held the world in a perfect grip.
8 thoughts on “Away In A Manger”
I agree that Jesus must of cried as a baby he laughed probably was real human with his diciples!
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I enjoyed this…thanks!
According to the bible, he even got plenty cranky as an adult. “Peace of Christ” doesn’t seem to account for all the times he verbally tore people right out of their frames. And in atleast one instance he even resorted to violence. Go Jesus! My hero.
I’m just about to write a blog about expectations and though it’s a lovely thought, the sort of sentimentality in the carol gives us no hope of ever being truly like Him and that seems to me to defeat the whole purpose of the Gospel. You might get a mention (and a link) because I haven’t decided quite how to start yet 🙂
On the topic of how to start, I wanted to say I always love your layout. It is a pleasure to read and the video link always blesses me.
Thanks much but I cant really take credit for any of it. People have been using the SOAP method (scripture observation application prayer) for as long as there have been devotionals. Even my four “r”s I inherited when I took over writing devos for Resonate. Using a title graphic was the brainchild of the guy who does the website for Tworiversassembly.com. My overall design layout comes right from the Liberty Church branding standards guideline.
So feel free to use anything anytime. All my best ideas were stolen from someone else. 😉
Haha! This post made me giggle a little and also appreciate the seriousness of your point. Thank you for sharing. I’m sure baby Jesus did cry a little – the song is not scripture – the truth is in the Holy Bible and I love your interpretation of what you have read in God’s word. Thank you for sharing.
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