Crowning of the Year


I hate to admit this, but often around this time of year I forget to be joyful and perpetually hopeful and all of that. I get anxious and crabby and convinced that I’m never going to get everything done in time for Christmas. I am not what you could call “filled with the spirit of the season.” Until I hear the music. It’s the music that does it for me. It makes me cry like a tiny little girl. In a good way.

Anyway, there’s a little-known advent song that takes me out of myself and helps me wrap my head around getting ready for company, called “People Look East”. I never heard it growing up. I learned it at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Bloomington-Normal a few years back.

These are the lyrics, though we only ever sang verses 1, 2, and 4.

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.

Here’s a link to a performance of the song, in case you wanted to hear it. It uses an old French song that I believe is called “Besançon.” The lyrics were written in 1928 by Eleanor Farjeon.

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