"Away in a manger, no crib for a bed, the little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head."
It's a beloved carol. Sometimes called "Luther's Cradle Hymn," this song was actually written in the U.S. to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Martin Luther's birth in 1883.
We're so used to singing these words about Baby Jesus in the manger that we're no longer as shocked by the image as we should be.
Stop and think for a minute about the jarring difference. A manger is made for animals, not humans. Babies belong in a crib or cradle, made for tender nurture. But the Babe lies in a manger — hard, harsh, filled with prickly hay. The song is sweet and gentle, but the reality was not.
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