My interest in the last verses of Christmas carols goes back to the day after Christmas 1980. At the time, U.S. diplomats had been held hostage in Iran for more than a year, since Nov. 4, 1979.
Only two women remained among the 52 diplomats being held -- and on Dec. 26, 1980, one of them, Kathryn Koob, was shown on TV and sang "Away in a Manger" for her nieces and nephews. For others, too, I thought (and still think).
I was so touched by the beauty of it, singing in front of her captors, that it took me hours to recognize what she was singing. On the other hand, I've never forgotten it since.
It wasn't the simple first verse of "Away in a Manger," which begins
Away in a manger,
no crib for a bed,
the little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head.
No, she sang the last verse:
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.
Margaret Serious has a page on Facebook. Stop by to catch up to previous verses and have future ones (and other posts -- I'm Serious, not fussy) delivered by liking the page. UPDATE: You may also click here to catch up on all of the "Last verses" in the series.