Music: German melody
1. 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 ON THE HAY.
2. 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 / TIL MORNING IS NIGH.
1. BE NEAR ME LORD JESUS, I ASK THEE TO STAY / COSE 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.
In 1224, St. Francis of Assisi was wrestling with a problem. The Gospel message had become so intellectual that it was cold and dogmatic. "It must he simplified so that it might appeal to the heart of the common people," he resolved. Then an idea came to him. "Why not dramatize the Christmas story? The common folk will then be able to better understand the meaning of Christmas." So he had a manger and all the trappings of a stable placed in his church at Graecia, Italy. On Christmas Eve, the members of his parish came to the church, and there, before their very eyes, were Joseph and Mary, and the Child in the manger. The people rejoiced! Christmas had never seemed so real to them. Since that time, the manger has become the subject of many Christmas carols and lullabies. One of the best known of these is "Away in a Manger." This song is generally referred to as "Luther's Cradle Hymn." In 1887, the tune appeared in print in North America, with the subheading, "Composed by Martin Luther for his children, and still sung by German mothers to their little ones." The authorship of the lyrics has never been verified, and the source of the tune is still unknown. Some say it could have been composed by a member of a German Lutheran colony from Pennsylvania.
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