“People, Look East” by Eleanor Farjeon
The United Methodist Hymnal, No. 202
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.
The Season of Advent is one that we often hurry through as we do everything we can to make Christmas perfect for our families and loved ones. We speed around town and the stores looking for the right gifts that will show others how much we care. We shop for children and families that we don’t even know as we select angels off of trees. We decorate our homes with trees and lights so that the magic of the season is everywhere we look. And, we cook the perfect treats for our family meals and celebrations. As Eleanor Farjeon reminds us in her beautiful Advent hymn we are to make our house fair as we set the table and prepare for guests.
However, the one guest that she is really calling us to prepare for is Christ himself, who in her beautiful hymn is called Love the Guest, Love the Rose, Love the Star, and Love the Lord. Farjeon tells us preparation looks like furrowing a field and planting a seed and waiting for the flower to bloom. She also tells us it is like a dark night in which we are waiting for the light to shine forth proclaiming Christ’s entry with a light display in the heavens greater than anything we could imagine.
If you have ever planted a seed and waited for a flower to bloom, or ever survived a dark night, you know that it can feel like forever for the light to break free. In a very real sense the preparation that Farjeon is calling us to looks more like this kind of waiting. After all, Advent is a season that we celebrate to remind us not only of our continued need for Christ, but that he has come and we are waiting upon his return. Waiting isn’t something we are traditionally good at. It can be frustrating when after we plant a seed we’re not sure will sprout, and when we are in the midst of a dark night it is scary when the light doesn’t come fast enough.
But, waiting doesn’t have to be frustrating if we learn how to do it correctly. If we discover that in our waiting there are things that we can do to help the time pass. If it is a seed that we are waiting to bloom, we can cultivate the soil, check daily for weeds, and apply the necessary water and sunlight. If we find ourselves in the midst of a dark night we can take time out to pray for deliverance, and for a sign of Christ’s love. And, if we are waiting upon the return of a savior we share his love with as many people as we are able until the day arrives that he returns.
The Advent season is a wonderful time in which we are able to practice our waiting, and learn some important lessons about anticipation, hope, and patience. I hope you will join us during worship as we wait for the Advent of our Lord! In Christ, Rev. John Embrey
“Waiting for Advent”
November 29: Waiting in Anticipation
December 6: Waiting in Hope
December 13: Choir Christmas Concert
December 20: Waiting in Patience