As she drove to visit a home-bound man, Pastor Cindy thought back on the hard year she had had personally.
When their visit seemed over, he said, "I love 'Away in a Manger,'" he laughed. "An old man and a lullaby!" Then he looked her in the eyes: "I've had good times and bad. The Christmas my wife died was the worst. 'Away in a Manger' kept me in Jesus' arms."
He took her hand, insisting, more than inviting: "Pray with me."
As she closed her eyes, he sang in a shaky, but sure voice:
"Be near me, Lord Jesus; I ask you to stay close by me forever and love me, I pray." The words covered her like a warm comforter.
Then he squeezed her hand and became her pastor:
"Bless all the dear children in your tender care, And fit us for heaven to live with you there."
“Away in a Manger,” ELW 277
1 Away in a manger, no crib for his 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.
2 The cattle are lowing; the baby awakes,
but little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes.
I love you, Lord Jesus; look down from the sky
and stay by my cradle till morning is nigh.
3 Be near me, Lord Jesus; I ask you to stay
close by me forever and love me, I pray.
Bless all the dear children in your tender care
and fit us for heaven, to live with you there.