From Pastor's Perspective

adventSeems we have a new Advent tradition at Good Shepherd, a tradition that’s about 5 years old. Each year during the four Sundays of Advent we ask members of the congregation to come forward to light the candles of the advent wreath and share a brief prayer. But this year something will be a little different. Traditionally we’ve sung “Light One Candle to Watch for Messiah”* (ELW 240) as the Advent candles were lit. I really like that song and it seems so appropriate. That said, this year I’ve made a change and we’re singing “People Look East.” The words from the hymn are copied below.

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 flow'r may flourish.
People, look east, and sing today—
Love, the Rose, is on the way.
3.  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.
4.  Angels announce with shouts of mirth
him who brings new life to earth.
Set ev'ry peak and valley humming
with the word, the Lord is coming.
People, look east, and sing today—
Love, the Lord, is on the way.  (ELW 248)

“Love…is on the way”

What strikes me about this hymn is each of the four verses ends with “Love…is on the way”. This hymn has it right! Love came to us that first Christmas Eve. God’s love in the form of an infant, in the form of one of us, one who came to know the human experience. One who laughed, one who cried, one who ate with sinners, and one who suffered the death of a dear friend; one who loved and commanded us to do the same.

Seems to me this is an important time in our country and in the world to take the “People Look East” hymn’s central theme of love very seriously. An important time for our country; for our world to live the Advent message, to take the Christmas message of Jesus’ command to love one another to heart.

God’s peace and blessings,

Pastor Tom

*Text © Miss E. Farjeon Will Trust, by permission of David Higham Associates. Arr. © 1999 Novello & Company Limited, London, United Kingdom. All rights reserved. International copyright secured.