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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.

Spotify, Soundcloud (inc. free downloads)

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

Recording featuring vocals by Allyse Smith Taylor:

Violin by Jana Hanni

Accompaniment track (Solo version):

Violin by Jana Hanni

Piano track (Solo version):

Piano track (SSAATB version):

Apple Music, Amazon

These files may be copied/shared in any quantity in any physical format unless otherwise noted. They may not be re-sold or offered for download.


  (Video provided to YouTube by outside parties may contain ads that may be skipped after a few seconds.)


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. 🙂


  1. Sophia

    I’m very inlove with you music. It’s bring such calmness in the heart and soul .

  2. Jacque Lee

    You have filled my life with such great joy!!!! Being a musician, choir director, Organist, I know I can always go to your site and find beautiful arrangement. Your selfless way of making them free to the world is so astounding. Your Heavenly Father will bless you so much. I pray he is blessing you now also. Thank you again. Jacque Lee

  3. Sue Wilson

    LOVE the extra verse!!!!

  4. Ness

    My kids were just asking why we don’t see more Anglican songs in our hymn book (we are blessed to be going to an Anglican Grammar), and this was an answer to her prayers! Yes! Love this! Thank you for sharing, and the arrangement is beautiful. I can’t wait to see her classmates listening to think “I’ve heard this tune before!” Thank you!

  5. ♡♥ Rainbow♥♡

    It is such an intresting take on the song! It does take some time to get used to singing it this way, as opossed to the traditinol way. My leader wants me to sing this with a old friend of mine for christmas. Thank you for making music. You have no idea how much good you bring♡

  6. Wayne Cooke

    Just a short question that you may or may not know the answer to. Why has the Church gone to the Kirkpatrick rather than the Murray melody? I feel the Murray sound is softer and more reverent that the Kirkpatrick. “Secular” volumes seem to use he Murray version. Any ideas?

    • Sally DeFord

      No idea. I like them all, so I’m happy either way. 🙂

  7. Roxanne Spragg

    Truly Beautiful… Away in a manger is also a favorite of mine. I Love the verse you wrote, the words are a wonderful addition. Thank you for sharing your gift with the rest of us. Blessings to you and your family!!! 🥰

  8. Eliana Stefanoff

    Siempre agradecida por tan hermoso, cálido y enriquecedor material.
    Es un privilegio poder recurrir a esta página cada vez que necesito algo especial.
    Muchas bendiciones!!!

  9. Becky

    I have tried to download and print any of these versions on my MacBook Pro and it says that no program I have can open them. I have printed from your website before with no problem. Any idea what might be happening? What programs work best to print them? Thank you so much for all the beautiful music.

    • Sally DeFord

      Hmmm… they’re just plain old PDFs. The only thing I can think of is that maybe you’re trying to use the .pc files instead?

  10. Erica

    Did you ever find it? I’m having the same trouble finding the accompaniment part!

  11. Bobbie Lattin

    Thank you so much for offering your music. I love this version of Away in a Manger and appreciate your thoughts on “no crying he makes”

  12. Shelly Evans

    I don’t know how i’m missing this but I don’t see the accompaniment for SSAATB Away in a Manger. Could you please help me with this? Thank you.

  13. Noel Jensen

    I love all your music. Thank you so much for allowing poor choir directors like me to be able to download them free. These are some of my favorite arrangements.

  14. Kristina Brown

    I am looking for a piano solo for Christmas to play in my ward.

    Thank you

  15. Mabel Alarcon

    Do you happen to have the violin music? I need it urgently! Thank you! Beautiful arrangement.

    • Valerie Henrie

      Look on her website. Free download. It is the solo obleggato in C.

  16. Amanda

    Beautiful arrangement, thank you! Is there a audio of the satb version?

  17. Tressa

    Sally, I have been searching for just the right number for the choir this year. Sacred, but not heavy handed. A lovely melody, but not over the top. I wanted a song that would bring the spirit and I wanted the congregation to be able to hear a familiar song with a slightly different melody that would help them think about the Savior. I have been looking for weeks, and I should have come here first. Thank you so much! I (the director) and the choir will try to do this song justice. Merry Christmas – in August!

  18. 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!

  19. Jeanette L Froelich

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

    • sallydeford

      Thanks, Jeanette! <3

  20. Darla Luchtenburg

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

    • sallydeford

      Thanks, Darla! Happy Christmas!


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