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2020 Advent Devotional – Day 5


Will You Come to the Manger?
Words and music by Sally DeFord, 2018

There’s a beacon and promise of hope and peace
Will you follow it now as they followed it then.

Video: Will You Come to the Manger?


One more recent tradition incorporated into the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols is the inclusion each year of a piece of music specially commissioned for the event. This exquisitely melodic and uplifting carol fits that bill, having been composed in 2018 by American composer Sally DeFord.

The lyrics invite us on a journey towards Christmas and towards Christ; a journey that we undertake throughout Advent and into the rest of the year. Thus, the days of Advent then remind us not to box Christmas into just one day or even one season, for this is a journey to allow to evolve and to enjoy.

The wise men may have had their star to follow, but we are invited to let our lives be guided by the same “beacon and promise” as well. The birth of Jesus and the affirmation it represents of God’s love for the world is not a past event, but a lived relationship that we are invited to share. The question we are asked is clear: “Will you follow it now as they followed it then?”

When we embrace this journey, we share in God’s offering of hope and peace for our lives. Throughout whatever twists and turns lie ahead for us, God’s love is constant, God’s presence is eternal. The relationship realized by the birth of Jesus Christ will always abide with us. We need only reach out to listen for God’s reassurance and to watch for God’s guidance and strength.

Let the warmth of this carol evoke the warmth of God’s love for us. Let it remind us of the grace that means no matter how far or how often we stray from God’s path, God is always there gently guiding us back to know Jesus and affirm the gift of his love.

Guiding God,
Be with me now as I journey towards this Christmas, unfamiliar and unknown. When I encounter uncertainty, guide me forward. When I hesitate in anxiety, reassure me of your love. Be with me always as I journey through life. Accompany me on the unfamiliar paths and unknown surroundings that lie ahead, that I may always feel the promise of your comforting and eternal love. Amen.


Will You Come to the Manger?

Can you hear?
Can you hear?
There’s a song on the air
There are legions of angels singing there
Can you hear?
Will you follow the heavenly hymn?
Will you come to the manger of Bethlehem?

Can you see?
Can you see?
Rising bright in the east
There’s a beacon and promise of hope and peace
Will you follow it now as they followed it then?
Will you come to the manger of Bethlehem?

Will you know? Will you know, ‘neath the skies all aglow,
The Gift of God’s love wrapped in swaddling clothes?
Will you seek His face?
Will you feel His grace?
Will you know your Lord and King?

Will you come?
Will you come to the Father’s own Son?
Will you follow your heart to the Holy One?
All the voices of heaven will guide you to Him
Will you come?
Will you come?

Come to the manger of Bethlehem

© Sally DeFord, 2018. Used with permission

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