Speaking of hymn lyrics that aren’t necessarily sound (see last post), there’s one that’s been eating at me for a while: Away In a Manger. Yeah, I know it’s August, but bear with me for a minute.
I love Away In a Manger. It was the first song I ever sang in church (at age 3!). I love that the lyric has been set to a couple different tunes. Here’s my favorite:
The point is: I like the song. I don’t want to make a big deal out of it but…
In the second verse, when Baby Jesus is awakened, we sing “no crying he makes”. I’ve heard plenty of people make the argument that because Jesus was perfect (and He was/is), he would have been a perfect baby. Thus, no crying, right?
I just don’t like the implication that crying=sin. Really, that’s what we’re saying, if we say that Baby Jesus didn’t cry because he didn’t sin. Lots of people seem to treat a baby’s cry as an inconvenience; an interruption of something more important. How sad!
A baby’s cry is miraculous! My son is not yet two months old. He is completely dependent on his parents for everything. He knows no words, cannot tell us what’s wrong (or right), and has never been taught how to communicate at all. Yet we can tell almost instantly based on his cry whether he is tired, hungry, or angry; whether he needs a diaper, a hug, or a little help getting the air out of his tummy. We can distinguish his cry from among dozens of other cries coming from the busy nursery wing at church. His cry moments after his birth was a sign that he was a healthy little baby who was fearfully and wonderfully made with the ability to communicate so much without even saying a word!
Folks think it odd that I have a tendency to smile and laugh (occasionally even stopping to take a picture or record a video) while Nate is crying. Perhaps I seem like a horrible father, but I just can’t help it! Every time my child cries it is to me a reminder of how perfectly God has designed the height of His creation.
I bet Baby Jesus cried a lot. I bet Mary & Joseph thought it was the most beautiful sound they’d ever heard. And lest there remain any who are yet unconvinced, let us put this debate to bed (tucking it in and singing it a lullaby) by referencing everyone’s favorite memory verse: John 11:35.