Away in the Manger



And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger. Luke 2:12

As a child, Christmas was a simple endeavor in our home. Although financially secure as adults, both of my parents grew up poor and were frugal people. They didn’t go overboard on gifts and decorations. Many of the ornaments on our tree were handmade, and we never had Christmas lights on the tree or the exterior of our house.

Our very most treasured decoration, more so than even the tree, was our simple nativity set. During the Christmas season I played endlessly with the pieces, rearranging the shepherds and wise men. Repositioning Mary and Joseph and especially baby Jesus.

It’s not surprising that “Away in the Manger” was my favorite Christmas carol during those years.

The lyrics are as simple as our Christmas was.

Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,

So childlike.

The little Lord Jesus lay down His sweet head.

So direct in what my response to Him should be.

I love Thee, Lord Jesus, look down from the sky.

And His response to me.

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 take us to Heaven to live with Thee there.

I found comfort in the words. Christ had come into this world as a newborn baby. He knew what it was like to be a child. He loved me and tenderly cared for me (and all children). And someday I would live with Him in heaven.

This Christmas, I pray that the simple message of Christ in the manger is central in my celebration—and in yours too. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

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Leslie Gould (33 Posts)

Leslie Gould is the award-winning author of fifteen novels, including the #1 bestseller and Christy Award winner "The Amish Midwife", co-written with Mindy Starns Clark. Her latest release is "Adoring Addie", a retelling of the “Romeo and Juliet,” the second in The Courtships of Lancaster County series. Leslie, her husband, Peter, and their four children live in Portland, Oregon. Visit her at Leslie received her master of fine arts in creative writing from Portland State University in 2009 and has taught fiction as an adjunct professor at Multnomah University. She, her husband, Peter, and their four children live in Portland, Oregon. Visit her at


  1. Hi Leslie. I hope you are have a lovely Christmas . What a lovely tribute to the real meaning of Christmas. I used to love to sing carrols at church when I was a young girl. Away in a Manager was one of my favorites.
    God Bless You This Christmas and always.

  2. Thank you, Leslie, for reminding me of these sweet words that I cherished as a child.

  3. Thank you, Shirley and Kim, for your sweet comments!

  4. What did Tiny Tim say? Something like this. “God Bless you Leslie . God Bless everyone.”

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