My all-time favorite Christmas album/CD is Bryan Duncan's "Christmas is Jesus." Not a skip song in the whole bunch. One of my favorite songs from the CD is the medley of Away in the Manger and There's Room in my Heart for Thee. His stirring voice with a choir in the background and those wonderful words simply embrace me with the love of Christ. I can hardly listen to it, year after year, without a tear trying to squeak out of the corner of my eyes.
What is it about this little Christmas lullaby that speaks to me so?
First, I think that, as a mother, I understand both the amazement of not only giving birth, but also a hint of what that little Jewish girl must have felt giving birth to her first child. Here was a little girl ~ barely in her teens, not wise to the ways of the world, away from her parents, traveling alone with Joseph, who she probably had never been alone with and with whom she had not yet been intimate, and she most likely had to deliver her own Baby because she had no midwife and Joseph would have become ceremonially unclean if he would have helped her. On top of all of that ~ she KNEW she was holding THE KING, Immanuel ~ God with Us ~ she was holding Heaven in her trembling, young arms.
This precious Baby ~ God's only Son ~ would not be laid upon eiderdown blankets, no, He would be laid upon clean hay strewn in a crude animal's feeding trough, a manger, as His bed. The KJV version of the Bible says that "she wrapped Him in swaddling cloths" ~ every midwife had swaddling cloths prepared at every birth. Why? Because they were grave clothes. Infant mortality was so high that they were prepared to immediately bury their newborn babies if they were too weak and died shortly after birth. So, not only was our Lord born in a barn among farm animals and all the sweet-dirty smells that go with them, nervously laid in a bed of hay, but He was wrapped in a baby blanket meant for His burial.
And she treasured all these things in her heart. (Luke 2:19)
The second thing that touches my heart about this song is that we know what that sweet Babe, God's Son, was born to do. That precious pink, soft, cooing little Baby was destined to bear our sins. His sweet skin would be pierced for my transgressions and His cooing voice would be raised in agonized prayer while hanging on a cross, begging forgiveness for my sins . . . your sins . . . the world's sins.
God sent His only Son to us in the least intimidating way possible: a sweet little Baby, in the most unassuming way possible: born in a barn and laid in a manger, to do what no one else could ever do: conquer death, hell and the grave.
That's what bring tears to my eyes when I listen to that sweet Christmas lullaby ~ knowing that we should never look at the manger without seeing the cross.
Blessings from Ohio . . . Kim<><