My favorite Christmas carol is “Away in a Manger.” I smile as I look at the hymnbook for the name of the one who penned these words. “Anonymous,” it says—of course.
I love the third verse. It expresses perfectly my Christmas wish, my Christmas prayer:
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.
(Hymns of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 206)
My favorite word is in the last line. It’s the word “fit.” This verse is a prayerful invitation to the Lord to “fit” us for heaven. “To fit” means, “To make ready in advance, to prepare” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). It’s a humble appeal to the Lord to make us ready and to prepare us in every way for Eternal Life.
I am so grateful to understand that I’m not left to myself with the work of becoming “fit” for heaven and the preparation necessary to live with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ forever. Now that I know this truth for myself I see it taught everywhere, even in this humble little carol. My work is to nourish my desire to be “fitted” by Him so I might live with Him. Then I must draw near to Him in humble need, as represented by the words, “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.” With this prayer I give the Lord permission and make Him free to do all the fitting” necessary.
By Nannette W.
Posted Friday, December 12, 2008
Re-posted from Nannette’s Christmas Archives December 14, 2011
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