Away in a Manger is one of the most famous Christmas carols which has its origins in the late nineteenth century. Listen to this song by watching the youtube video below which features a new version of this timeless Christmas classic by Teresa Thomas, from her recent album, Upon Your Shore.
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Away in a Manger Lyrics
Away in a manger, no crib for a bed
The cattle are lowing, the child He wakes
The hope of all Israel
Away in a manger (x4)
© Teresa Thomas
Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,
The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes,
Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask thee to stay
Chords for the Christmas song Away in a Manger. Includes chords for piano, guitar and also tabs.
The first two verses of the original lyrics of Away in a Manger were published in the May 1884 issue of The Myrtle. The article claims that Martin Luther composed the hymn for his children, but this is not likely as Luther himself makes no reference to it in any of his writings.
Two verses of the song were later published in an Evangelical Lutheran Sunday School collection, Little Children's Book for Schools and Families (1885). The lyrics were set to a tune called "St. Kilda", composed by J.E. Clark.
The third verse, "Be near me, Lord Jesus" was first printed in Gabriel's Vineyard Songs (1892), where it appeared with a tune by Charles H. Gabriel. It is likely the third verse was written by Gabriel even though he credited the entire text to Luther and gave it the title "Cradle Song". This third verse is sometimes attributed to Dr. John McFarland, but this is not likely either since his contribution would have post-dated an earlier printing.
There are various versions of this timeless Christmas carol (41 listed by Richard S. Hill in his article in the Music Library Association Notes 1945). The most common version in the US is by the composer Murray but is typically given the name “Mueller.” This theme was borrowed from one of Strauss’ waltzes composed 19 years earlier.
Another popular version is the tune "Cradle Song" written by William J. Kirkpatrick for the musical Around the World with Christmas (1895). This melody was in turn borrowed from the tune “Sweet Afton” composed in 1837 by Jonathan E. Spilman.
The 2013 version of Away in a Manger by Teresa Thomas (above) is entirely original in melody, although the lyrics borrow from the earlier versions. Produced by Wendy Waldman, the song has a beautiful traditional ballad feel with a touch of celtic flavour. It is a welcome addition to the established Christmas tradition of reinventing this timeless Christmas classic, and is sure to find it’s place among the many collections of Christmas favourites.