Tag Archives: children

Away In A Manger

Away in a manger, no crib for a 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 on the hay.

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.

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 fit us for Heaven to live with Thee there.

Words for verses 1 & 2 were written anonymously, Verse 3 by John T. McFarland (19th Century)
Music: Two common tunes, 1st by James R. Murray, 1887; 2nd by William J. Kirkpatrick, 1895

 


and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
Luke 2:7

When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.
Luke 24:50 – 53

The Lord watches over you—the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
Psalm 121:5 – 8

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
Hebrews 13:5

in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith
Galatians 3:26

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:18


 

Sometimes the simplest things are really the best. You know, when you strip aware all the glitz and glamor, when all the unnecessary extras are removed, you are left with what really matters.

Hymns are no exception. Some hymns are powerful with grand scores that draw you in. Some have profound teachings in their deep theological truths. But sometimes, the simpler the music and message, the more moving and profound the song. This is the case with the dearly loved hymn, “Away In A Manger.”

“Away in A Manger” is often thought of as a children’s hymn, taught to them from a young age. But this hymn with it gentle lullaby tune (no matter which of the two tunes you prefer) leads us to sit calmly and listen to the words, no matter our age.

In the first verse we sing, “Away in a manger, no crib for a bed, The little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head.” It is a poetic restating of Luke 2:7 where we read, “. . . She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.”

In the second verse, the poetic picture continues to be draw of the infant Jesus. As a result, we have a picture drawn within our minds that we can not help but be moved by. But to often we think of Jesus at Christmas and picture only the infant child. We need to remember that this child born that first Christmas is the same Jesus who “. . . was taken up into heaven,” (Luke 24:51)

So the hymn continues, “I love Thee, Lord Jesus, look down from the sky And stay by my cradle till morning is nigh.” The request is that the Jesus who ascended into Heaven, watch over and protect. We are drawn to the words of Psalm 121:7 where we read “The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life.”

Finally, in the third verse, introduced by John McFarland, we read, “Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay Close by me forever, and love me, I pray.” It is a simple prayer of commitment, reflecting the prayer of a new believer, expressed in the simple words of a young child. It is committing ones life to Christ and trusting that he will never leave. (Hebrews 13:5)

McFarland then writes, “Bless all the dear children, in Thy tender care.” All the dear children? Our first thought is that this is a children’s hymn, so he is speaking to the children. But when we stop to look more closely we are reminded in Galatians 3:26 that “in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith.” In this light we are reminded that it is those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ, who are the dear children in His care.

McFarland concludes with the words, “And fit us for Heaven to live with Thee there.” It is this same Jesus who guides and directs us. It is through him that we “. . . are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. ” (2 Corinthians 3:18)

This may be a “children’s hymn”, but we are the children for whom the hymn is written. It is a simple message, set to a simple tune, but in it we find profound truths and comfort. The truth that a child born into this world through humble circumstance, is the Savior of mankind who ascended back into heaven. The truth that He will watch over those who trust in him, and that he will never leave. The truth that we are children of God, and that He transforms us into His likeness.

So we join in the prayer, “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 fit us for Heaven to live with Thee there”

 

James R. Murray Melody

 

William J. Kirkpatrick Melody (Cradle Song)

 

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God Leads His Dear Children Along

In shady, green pastures, so rich and so sweet,
God leads His dear children along;
Where the water’s cool flow bathes the weary one’s feet,
God leads His dear children along.
Some through the waters, some through the flood,
Some through the fire, but all through the blood;
Some through great sorrow, but God gives a song,
In the night season and all the day long.

Sometimes on the mount where the sun shines so bright,
God leads His dear children along;
Sometimes in the valley, in darkest of night,
God leads His dear children along.
Some through the waters, some through the flood,
Some through the fire, but all through the blood;
Some through great sorrow, but God gives a song,
In the night season and all the day long.

Though sorrows befall us and evils oppose,
God leads His dear children along;
Through grace we can conquer, defeat all our foes,
God leads His dear children along.
Some through the waters, some through the flood,
Some through the fire, but all through the blood;
Some through great sorrow, but God gives a song,
In the night season and all the day long.

Away from the mire, and away from the clay,
God leads His dear children along;
Away up in glory, eternity’s day,
God leads His dear children along.
Some through the waters, some through the flood,
Some through the fire, but all through the blood;
Some through great sorrow, but God gives a song,
In the night season and all the day long.

Words and Music by George Young, 1903

 


For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
Romans 8:14 – 17

Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel,
“I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, Who leads you in the way you should go.”
Isaiah 48:17

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.
Proverbs 3:5 – 6

But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere.
2 Corinthians 2:14


 

I have worked with the Boy Scouts for several years. In the scouts, our goal is to develop leadership among boys as they grow into men. The key method for reaching this goal is the boy led model in which the boys serve as the primary leaders of the troop and the adults serve as advisers. This is great experience for the boys, but can sometimes lead to a less than fluid execution. And while they learn from their failures as much as their successes, they also learn the need for good, clear leadership.

Thankfully, those of us who follow Christ, have not been left to lead ourselves. This is the overarching theme of George Young’s “God Leads Us Along.”

In his words we see that it does not matter the situation we find ourselves in, for those who trust in God he will Seek his will “show you which path to take” (Proverbs 3:6). When we have put their faith in Christ and are led be Him, we become Children of God. This is why Paul writes in Romans 8:14, “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.”

Yes, we can know that God leads us as he has promised. In Isaiah 48:17 God tells us, “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, Who leads you in the way you should go.” When we follow His leadership we can rest with confidence for the God who has told us that he will lead us, has also promised that he will never leave us. (Deuteronomy 31:6)

So whatever our trial or our situation, we need not fear that we will become lost if we keep our eyes on the one who leads. Our Heavenly Father leads us not simply as an adviser for our lives, but as leader who takes along the way if we will submit and follow.

When we submit our lives to God’s leadership, we will see first hand the meaning of the words, “God leads his dear children along.”

 

 

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Blessed Assurance

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior, all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior, all the day long.

Perfect submission, perfect delight,
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels descending bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior, all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior, all the day long.

Perfect submission, all is at rest
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior, all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior, all the day long.

Words by Fanny Crosby, 1873
Music by Phoebe Knapp, 1873

 


Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
Hebrews 10:19 – 23

Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry,“Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
Romans 8:12 – 17

Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
Romans 8:33 – 34


 

Do you remember what it is like when you try something new for the first time? Hopefully we are all trying new things and stretching ourselves as much as we can. But maybe it will help to think back to when we were young, after all everything was new then. One of those new big things that almost all of us has expereinced is driving.
This is fresh in my mind not from having learnef to drive, but having an 18 year old son who has recently gone through it and a 14 year old son who is about to. It’s nerve racking from both sides without a doubt. But I came to realize that the best thing I could do was not simply correct their mistakes, but to affirm what they do right and reassure them that they can do it.

You see, when we are trying hard and simply keep struggling we can quickly become discouraged and see no hope. But when we have someone come along side of us, place their hand on our should and tell us, “It’s okay, you are not alone. You can do this, just give it another try.” we find the strength to go on. That assurance can mean everything.

This is the message that Fanny Crosby relates to us in her hymn, “Blessed Assurance.” We all know how hard this life is. Every day the struggles can seem to get worse. Sometimes we don’t know how we are going to go on. Now your probably expecting me to say that Jesus is the answer. Well, He is, but I am not simply saying “let go, let God.” Even as believers there are times that we can become so burdened down that we loose sight of God, and “sound bite” answers simply do not give us assurance.

So how do we find that assurance that can so easily evade us? How do we remind ourselves that God is there? The answer is found in God’s Word, the Bible.

When we turn to Hebrews 10 verses 19 we are reminded that “we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus.” You see one of the barriers that stands in our way is that we do not turn to God because we are so distracted by our struggles, and often because we feel unworthy to come before Him. But we are reminded that we may enter His presence with confidence.

We are children of God who can come to our father. Romans 8:15 – 17 tells us, ” the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry,’Abba, Father.’ The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ.”

Chapter 8 continues to tell us in verse 33 – 34 that if we an then children of God, “Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.”

No, as hard as the struggles we face are, we are not alone. Christ interceded for us. We as little children may come before our
Father and He will hear us. When we are reminded of this, that we may “draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings.” (Hebrew 10:22)

God has given us that needed reassurance in His Word. Now that We indeed have this assurance, we can join with the words of Fanny Crosby declaring, “Pefect submission, all is at rest. I in my savior, am happy and blest.”

 

 

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Children of the Heavenly Father

Children of the heav’nly Father
Safely in His bosom gather;
Nestling bird nor star in Heaven
Such a refuge e’er was given.

God His own doth tend and nourish;
In His holy courts they flourish;
From all evil things He spares them;
In His mighty arms He bears them.

Neither life nor death shall ever
From the Lord His children sever;
Unto them His grace He showeth,
And their sorrows all He knoweth.

Though He giveth or He taketh,
God His children ne’er forsaketh;
His the loving purpose solely
To preserve them pure and holy.

Words by Karolina W. Sandell-Berg
Music: Traditional Swedish Melody

 

Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
Matthew 7:9 – 11

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!
I John 3:1

 

We have all been raised with lullabies. Those comforting melodies that we use to put children to sleep, to drive away bad dreams and to let them know they are loved. That in many ways is what we have in “Children of the Heavenly Father.”

Now in the interest of full disclosure, I come from a strong Swedish heritage, and take great pride in it. And this beloved Swedish hymn is tied to that heritage.

A few years ago, I had the privilege to sing this hymn at my Grandfathers funeral, and in true Swedish tradition, I sang it in the original language. Now in all honesty, I don’t speak Swedish. But that did not take away from the beauty of this traditional Swedish melody. When I combine this beautiful relaxing melody, with the meaningful words (in English of course) I begin to see the real beauty of this piece.

You see, one of the real keys to a powerful piece of music is that the music and the words each, individually, communicate the same message. That is the case with “Children of the Heavenly Father.”

As I said, the melody has the rolling feel of a lullaby seeking to sooth a scared child. In this case, we are those scared children, and we need to be reminded that our peace can be found in our Heavenly Father. As we look at the words we see this message revealed.

We see a Heavenly Father who watches over and protects us. We see a Heavenly Father who provides all that His children need. We see a Heavenly Father who can not be separated from His children and knows all they face.

And so I peacefully come to rest in the final words of this hymn, “His loving purpose solely, to preserve them pure and holy.”

 

 

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