In this morning’s sermon, our pastor spoke about the passage from the Bible that I wrote about yesterday:

Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.

Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord‘s hand double for all her sins.

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:

And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

“They don’t take away the pandemic,” she said, but they help us “as we find our way from grief to comfort.”

She mentioned another favorite Advent hymn of mine, “People, Look East.” This song illustrates the other word in the Isaiah 40 passage that she wanted to focus on: “Prepare.”

 

PEOPLE, LOOK EAST 

Words and Music: Eleanor Farjeon (1881-1965), 1928
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer

1. People, look east. The time is near
Of the crowning of the year.
Make your house fair as you are able,
Trim the hearth and set the table.
People, look east and sing today:
Love, the guest, is on the way.

2. Furrows, be glad. Though earth is bare,
One more seed is planted there:
Give up your strength the seed to nourish,
That in course the flower may flourish.
People, look east and sing today:
Love, the rose, is on the way.

3. Birds, though you long have ceased to build,
Guard the nest that must be filled.
Even the hour when wings are frozen
God for fledging time has chosen.
People, look east and sing today:
Love, the bird, is on the way.

4. Stars, keep the watch. When night is dim
One more light the bowl shall brim,
Shining beyond the frosty weather,
Bright as sun and moon together.
People, look east and sing today:
Love, the star, is on the way.

5. Angels, announce with shouts of mirth
Christ who brings new life to earth.
Set every peak and valley humming
With the word, the Lord is coming.
People, look east and sing today:
Love, the Lord, is on the way.

I’m preparing for Christmas even though we don’t know exactly how it will be. We hope to see all our children and grandchildren this year, but we can’t be sure that will happen.  California has shut down till after Christmas, so #2 daughter and her partner may come late.

#2 son and his partner are hoping to come. He was here a few days ago and I asked if he wanted to take their gifts just in case. It was wonderful to see him, but he hoped they’d make it to Christmas and left the gifts here.

I’m knitting hard to finish #1 daughter’s gift, and decorating the house bit by bit. My pantry has boxes of special holiday treats, including the special Christmas coffee blends in the photo above. They look like they belong on the tree, don’t they?

But the U.S. has now reached one million coronavirus cases. We’re told not to travel or gather at Christmas. The preparations may end up being just for me and my husband.

If so, that will be okay. Christmas is an important day filled with precious traditions, but the light of Christ is with us all year. December 25th is an arbitrary date. We can enjoy it quietly and work around the circumstances of the year.