Away in a Manger
By Doug Bing, Washington Conference president
What is your favorite Christmas song?
One of my very favorites is the Away in a Manger. Some of my earliest memories of Christmas is hearing my mother sing this song. I don’t remember if she sang it as a lullaby or at family worship. But I just hear her voice in my head singing that song and it has been a favorite of mine for years.
Away in a manger
No crib for bed
The little Lord Jesus
Lay down His sweet head
The stars in the sky
Look down where He lay
The little Lord Jesus
Asleep on the hay
As I reflect on that song years later, I am still struck by the words that describe the very humble earthly beginnings of Jesus.
Every parent wants the very best for their children.
I wonder what Mary and Joseph thought after they had been turned away from place after place and then find themselves surrounded by farm animals giving birth to a baby that has the destiny of saving the entire world ahead of them.
They were more than likely thinking mainly of making sure the baby was OK. Was he breathing OK? What are we going to wrap him in to keep him warm? Then making sure that the feed trough was somewhat clean so that they could make a bed for the baby.
But when you think of where Jesus had come from you realize the amazing sacrifice that he made to come and be found lying surrounded by animals and not even a normal house over his head. It is amazing to think of that sacrifice that was followed by a life of sacrifice and then his sacrificial death.
All for you and me.
The angels were also struck by what was happening to Jesus. They knew there was a plan to redeem the world. So they were watching with interest to see the plan play out. I was struck by these words found in Desire of Ages:
With amazement the heavenly messengers beheld the indifference of that people whom God had called to communicate to the world the light of sacred truth. The Jewish nation had been preserved as a witness that Christ was to be born of the seed of Abraham and of David's line; yet they knew not that His coming was now at hand.
As Christians we have been given the commission to tell the entire world the good news of Jesus. I pray that the same indifference is not found in us who have some amazing news of Jesus who came to this earth, was found in a manger by simple shepherds, died on the cross for our salvation and is coming again to rid this world of sadness, death and most importantly sin.