Christmas Songs

By: Gail Cohen & Gilbert DeBenedetti

'Away in a Manger'

©2006 Publications International, Ltd.

Martin Luther is rumored to have authored "Away in a Manger," but the hymn more likely debuted anonymously around 1885. The song served as inspiration to James R. Murray, who included the hymn under the title of "Luther's Cradle Hymn" in his 1887 book "Dainty Songs for Lads and Lassies." This is probably the reason for its attribution to the great German religious leader.

Given so circuitous an evolution, you won't be surprised to learn that some people think that Murray was the composer. Others are convinced that the lyric is derived from the Scottish poem, "Flow Gently, Sweet Afton," written by Robert Burns. No matter what its origin, this lullaby of a hymn continues to soften hearts every Christmas.


"Away in a Manger" Lyrics

1. Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,

The little Lord Jesus lay down His sweet head.

The stars in the sky looked down where He lay,

The little Lord Jesus a sleep in 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 till morning is nigh.

3. 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.

Christmas sheet music: "Away in a Manger"

Our next song probably started out as a fourteenth-century French dance. Keep reading to find out more about "Bring a Torch, Jeannette, Isabella."