Jesus is the Light • Devotion #1: “Away In a Manger”

When I think of Martin Luther, I envision this courageous German Monk wearing his robe with the hood bouncing on his back as he walks up to the church with a hammer in his hand. His battle was not with a physical building. Instead, he took on the abuse of the church which was abusing its position in order to gain power and money. They had created a belief system that you could earn or buy your way into Heaven. It was 1517 and he nailed his “95 Theses” to the church door which began the Protestant Reformation. Martin Luther emphasized faith alone through Jesus Christ as the only means for salvation.

However, there was another side to Martin Luther. He composed a Christmas carol for his children entitled “Luther’s Cradle Song.” We know it as “Away in a Manger.”

Verse 1 paints such a peaceful beautiful scene:

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.

Even though it was designed as a children’s song, verse 2 has created some frustration or dissatisfaction amongst Theologians:

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.

Did anything jump out to you? It appears Luther is accused of emphasizing Jesus’ divinity at the sake of His humanity by saying, “no crying he makes.” Have you ever wondered if baby Jesus cried? John 11:35 is a verse you might end up memorizing today. It says, “Jesus wept.” Jesus as a man cried and Jesus as a baby cried. Jesus remained God as He also became man (and baby).

I am not sure how many people continue on to verse 3. It says:

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.

The last line tells the story. Jesus left Heaven to come to Earth so we could leave Earth and go with Him to Heaven. Sing this beautiful Christmas carol with child-like faith.

In 1 John 5:11, we rejoice, “And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.”

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