One of my very earliest Christmas memories was learning to sing "Away in a manger" for a pageant. I must have been very young indeed, because I can remember it hadn't been too long before then that I had stopped sleeping in a crib, and I had the thought that we could probably give the one I had been using to the baby Jesus. It was a charitable thought which never worked out, but I've always loved the lullaby that inspired it.
Here's the traditional first verse, with three others I wrote for the Feast of the Holy Family.
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.Dear Mary, his Mother, sang sweet lullabies,as Jesus, awaking, gazed into her eyes.The most holy Virgin, with loving caressembraced the world’s Savior with Love’s tenderness.Good Joseph stood guarding the Mother and Child,his soul filled with awe and his heart undefiled.The birth of young Jesus made angels to sing,but Joseph in silence kept watch o’er his King.What once was a stable may our hearts become;may God’s holy fam’ly in us find a home.With Mary and Joseph and angels abovewe worship the Infant, the gift of God’s Love.Text: V.1, Traditional,vv. 2-4, Fr. Christopher G. Phillips, 1995Music; CRADLE SONG, William James Kirkpatrick, 1838-1921)