I used to try to find new songs for each day for my musical Advent calendar. I still try to have some new songs and a good amount of variety, but there are some songs that I truly love and which we don’t sing often enough for me to want to skip them. At least, I can offer different arrangements.

This is “People Look East” by Eleanor Farjeon, to the French tune “Besançon.” It was written in 1928, and it’s well suited to a madrigal style.

Farjeon didn’t write much about God, though she was a devout Catholic. She liked to write about homely things like farms and hearths, and this song is a reminder that we should get ready for Christmas as well as spending time in contemplation. After all, we have guests coming and hospitality is a duty and a blessing.

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.

Last night’s concert was successful. We had one singer with hiccups and one who dropped her music, the quintet fell apart in the middle, and I made an error in “E’en So.” Nonetheless, it was nice.

And it’s over. Tonight, for perhaps the second or third time in the past six weeks, I didn’t have to go anywhere. I’m trying to get #2 daughter’s sweater finished by Christmas.

Tomorrow I have two meetings. Three actually, but two got scheduled at the same time, so #1 daughter is taking one of them on her own. I told her that I have to quit seeing this as something horrible that I have to live through till it stops. This, I said, is the new normal.

What am I going to do about that? I’m not sure. But I am going to prepare for Christmas.