“Away in a Manger” is one of the most iconic and beloved Christmas songs in many English-speaking countries. Although its origin is a matter of debate, the song has deeply touched the hearts of generations and has become an inescapable anthem during the Christmas season.
The first verse of “Away in a Manger” was first published in 1885 in a small book called Little Children’s Book for Schools and Families. For a long time, it was believed that the lyrics were written by Martin Luther, the German Protestant reformer, and that he had written them for his own children. However, this belief is now considered a myth, as there is no solid evidence to support this claim. In fact, the song does not appear in any German record before its English publication in 1885.
The melody has also been a subject of debate. There are two main melodies associated with the song. The most well-known in the United States was written by James Ramsey Murray in 1887 and is titled “Mueller”. The other, more popular in the United Kingdom, is an adaptation of a melody by composer William James Kirkpatrick and dates from 1895.
Despite the uncertainties surrounding its origin, “Away in a Manger” has been translated into numerous languages and is sung with devotion and love in many corners of the world during Christmas. Its simple lyrics that speak of the birth of Jesus in a humble manger and its sweet melody have made it a favorite, especially for children, and it remains one of the most popular and endearing Christmas songs to this day.
AWAY IN A MANGER
1. Away in a manger, no crib for His bed,
The little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head; The stars in the sky looked down where He lay, The little Lord Jesus, asleep in the hay.
2. The cattle are lowing, the poor Baby wakes. But little Lord Jesus, no crying He makes.
I love thee, Lord Jesus, look down from the sky. And stay by the 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.
- Question: What is the origin of the song “Away in a Manger”?
Answer: It was first published in 1885 in a book called Little Children’s Book for Schools and Families. Although it was believed Martin Luther had written it, this claim is now considered a myth.
- Question: Are there different melodies for this song?
Answer: Yes, there are two main melodies. One, known in the United States, was written by James Ramsey Murray. The other, popular in the United Kingdom, is an adaptation of a melody by composer William James Kirkpatrick.
- Question: Why is “Away in a Manger” so popular during Christmas?
Answer: Its simple lyrics about the birth of Jesus and its sweet melody have made it a favorite, especially among children.
- Question: In how many languages has this song been translated?
Answer: It has been translated into numerous languages and is sung in many corners of the world during Christmas.
- Question: Is “Away in a Manger” popular only in English-speaking countries?
Answer: Although it’s especially popular in English-speaking countries, its translation and melody have reached many other places, reflecting its universality.