The song was published in 1895 by William J. Kirkpatrick. Here is the second verse:
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.
It can be shown throughout the last 2,000 years that people, even well-intentioned people, have made one or both of two errors: either minimizing the full deity of Christ, or his full humanity, or both. Scripture however, is non-negotiable: Jesus is both fully God and fully Man at the same time (if you would like scripture on that, or even a discussion with no scripture, please respond – it would be my pleasure to serve you). And that means that he needed his diaper changed because that’s what babies need. Speaking of needing a change, so does the second line of the second verse of “Away in a Manger.”
At our church, we sing it like this:
“The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes, The little Lord Jesus, What crying he makes.”
Why the change? Because Jesus was fully human – and that’s what babies do when they’re startled by bellowing 1,400 pound cattle standing over them! Let us never exalt Jesus so far above his humanity that he can’t know our needs. Also, let us never dethrone Jesus so far down from his Deity that he can’t meet our needs. Read your bible and keep the full tension of mystery and beauty in the God-Man!
But even having said this, I’m nostalgic and reminiscent this time of year. Enjoy!
Ah, one of my favorite Christmas shows.