2020 Advent Devotional – Day 2


African Advent Carol
Words and music by Michael Barrett, 2006

“Kum ba yah” (come by here)

“‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.’” (Luke 3:4b)

Video: African Advent Carol


It’s almost the first of December and the temptation is to go full-throttle Christmas, playing your favourite carols throughout the house and singing along to “Ding Dong Merrily on High” or “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas.” It’s a season of celebration, surely?

And yet, not so fast. It’s (also) a season of anticipation and of preparation. The children, impatient for gifts and Santa Claus, aren’t the only ones who need to be slowed down and told to wait at this time of year, for there is much to be gained along the way.

Like this catchy, and possibly unfamiliar carol, complete with African drums. The lyrics of the carol are reminiscent of the teaching of John the Baptist in the wilderness, calling the people to prepare themselves for the coming of Jesus. John the Baptist was forceful and direct about what needed to be done to prepare: the people needed to change their ways and straighten up the direction of their lives.

It’s a confronting question for us too today, albeit gentler when set to music! But like John, the carol encourages us to think about what it might mean to prepare ourselves for God. What sort of welcome is your heart ready to give Jesus?

Our homes might have fewer guests this Christmas but, as the carol encourages, we must prepare ourselves to be ready for Jesus to “come by here.”

Part invitation, part motivation (for we “do not know the day or the hour” – Matthew 25:13), let “Kum Ba Yah” affirm your welcome to Jesus to come into your heart this Advent, opening yourself up to the transforming love of God. And let us celebrate that we can do so, secure in God’s promise that however messy the situation in our life, Jesus can find his way in.

Patient God,
Slow me in my rush for the festivities; still me in my hectic urge to hurry. Help me examine my heart and my life, and renew me to welcome you more fully. Help me clear away the demands and the pressures that get in the way of your transforming love. Help me move past the worry and the scarcity that prevent me from sharing your love with the world. Amen.

Thank you for joining us on this prayerful path through Advent.
Blessings and best wishes for 2021.

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