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Away in a Manger

About the Song

“Away in a Manger” was one of my favorite carols when I was a child… before I “grew up” and started over-analyzing things. Now that I’m an adult, I sing the line “but little Lord Jesus no crying He makes,” and grin, realizing that whoever wrote those words was probably not a mother.

Babies cry. I’m sure He did too.

Yes, I tend to over-analyze, but in doing so I also find some connections that work for me. When I sing that line, my mind is drawn to Isaiah 53…

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth…

 

…and the line becomes a shadow of His uncomplaining sacrifice, and takes on new meaning for me. I’m sure it wasn’t intended that way, but that’s the way I think of it. It’s still one of my favorite carols.

The familiar lyrics (with an extra verse of my own) are set to an old Irish melody called “Slane,” which we traditionally sing using the words to “Be Thou My Vision” or “Take Time to be Holy.” Since those are also well-loved hymns I did separate scores for them as well.  To avoid confusion, they are posted on three separate pages.

The solo is set in the alto range, and includes optional notes in verse three for the one high passage. The SSAATB is set a whole step higher, so if you need a higher version you might try using this accompaniment, as it will work just fine with a solo voice. (You can’t use the solo accompaniment with the SSAATB version though… a few of the notes will clash.)  Even up a step, the pickup notes are still fairly low, so if you need it in any other key, here are transposition instructions.

Listen (and free 128kbps MP3 downloads)

Click the Soundcloud download icon to download the free track for personal use.

Recording featuring vocals by Allyse Smith Taylor:

Accompaniment track (Solo version):

Piano track (Solo version):

Piano track (SSAATB version):

YouTube

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Lyrics

Away in a manger, no crib for His bed
The little Lord Jesus lay down His sweet head
The stars in the heavens looked down where He lay
The little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay

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 cradle ’til morning is nigh

My heart, dearest Jesus, I offer to thee
Ever and always thy child I will be
Thou who from glory so humbly came down
To rest in a manger and win us a crown

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

If you have questions, please check the FAQ
If you don't find your answer there, feel free to post your question here. 🙂

5 Comments

  1. Emily

    I always love your arrangements! Anytime I have to find a solo or choir piece, I go to your sight and find the prettiest songs! Thanks you for doing what you do, and for sharing your wonderful talent with so many! Merry Christmas!

    Reply
  2. Jeanette L Froelich

    This arrangement is a treasure, and already a favorite! Love, love, love! You have done it again, Sally!

    Reply
    • sallydeford

      Thanks, Jeanette! <3

      Reply
  3. Darla Luchtenburg

    I have been fortunate to sing many of your arrangements but this is by far one of my favorites.

    Reply
    • sallydeford

      Thanks, Darla! Happy Christmas!

      Reply

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