Here are my completed Hymnals:

Presbyterian 1955 Hymnbook: http://amzn.to/2zSRdpL

Episcopal 1940 Hymnal: http://amzn.to/2DEOl1H 

Broadman 1940 Hymnal:  http://amzn.to/2C1WuwK

Lutheran 1941 Hymnal:  http://amzn.to/2zUmYi2

Methodist 1939 Hymnal:  http://amzn.to/2CfJ1Wq

Pilgrim 1935 Hymnal: http://amzn.to/2DDvbJC

Here are my new projects:

Choice Hymns of the Faith 1945 http://amzn.to/2Dx97nA

Now Sings My Soul, New Songs for the Lord by: Linda Bonney Olin:  http://amzn.to/2DQ6gUy

J S Bach Riemenschneider 371 Harmonized Chorales  http://amzn.to/2DSy5f9

References:

Dictionary of Hymnology:  http://amzn.to/2BxPabk

Away in A Manger

Text by: Unknown

Tune: Mueller by James Murray 1887  http://youtu.be/lG_uPXHt-6s

Cradle Song by: William J Kirkpatrick 1838-1921 http://youtu.be/N378O3UtLvs

Normandy Carol, a traditional Normandy carol https://youtu.be/wU67hskcBgE

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 poor baby wakes,

but little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes.

I love thee, Lord Jesus; look down from the sky,

and stay by my side until 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 fit us for heaven to live with thee there

Away in a Manger is probably the most popular hymn for which we have no idea who was the author. It first appeared in a song collection published in Philadelphia by the General Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in a book called: “Little Children’s Book for Schools and Families” with only the first two verses in 1885. It has been spuriously attributed to Martin Luther, but there is no evidence of that being the case.

There was a paper written back in the mid 1940’s which catalogued over 40 different tunes in which this poem had been set. In the US the tunes Mueller and Cradle Song are the most common now and in Great Brittan, Normandy Carol is very well known, particularly in High Church settings and also the Presbyterian Church.

Yet despite its huge popularity over its relatively short life and mysterious past, it actually presents a knotty theological problem. The first stanza doesn’t present any problems, however the second stanza can, if interpreted certain ways, actually advocate an old heresy. In the second line, “but little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes” can easily imply the docetic doctrine that the historical and bodily existence of Jesus was a mere semblance of reality. Jesus only seemed human, his human form was merely an illusion.

But this is not at all what the Scriptures teach. This birth is God taking on the flesh and blood of mankind. It was not an illusionary blood which was spilled on the cross, but the blood of a man who knew pain, hunger, and temptation. A man who had a full human existence yet untainted by sin. It is only this type of man who could give his life as a blood atonement for our sin.

Our Lord and God, took the form and substance of his creation. He was hungry, thirsty, became tired, wept at the loss of a friend, and ultimately suffered the cross for our redemption. A mere illusion couldn’t have been such a propitiation for our sin.

Whether this was the intent of the author or an Elizabethan admonition for children not to cry, is impossible to know, however it shows the importance of carefully considering the words we sing and what we truly mean!

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