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!
When I think of Christmas this particular carol comes into my mind and many happy memories along with it. I recall having to learn the words of this carol for our Primary School Carol Service. I have vivid memories of a clear, frosty winter’s night and Mum singing with me, over and over again these words, as we travelled in our family car from visiting my grandparents. I can also remember wondering why the ‘kettle are mowing’ in the second verse! Somehow in my 4-year-old mind the sound of kettle shaped lawn mowers had somehow caused the baby to awake! Of course, I can still hear the laughter of my Brother and Daddy as Mum explained to me that it was Cattle not Kettle and Lowing not Mowing.
Now that I am grown up, and in light of the words we read in 1st Corinthians 13 verse 11 “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me”, I must confess that I still love Christmas as much as I did 30 years ago and at times that little child still breaks through. However, now I am a man I understand the real reason for Christmas. It can be so easy to get caught up in the commercial side of this wonderful season, and forget the real reason for Christmas. We celebrate the birth of Jesus, whose message crosses cultures and generations, and never grows old. Without Jesus, we wouldn’t have Christmas.
Now back to the carol. The last verse gives us an opportunity to enter into a relationship with Jesus. The writer gives us a prayer which invites Jesus into our lives and prepares us for heaven. It is my prayer, that each of you this Christmas time, will embrace and enjoy all that the Lord Jesus has in store for you.
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!
I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.