14 December 2016
People Look East
We sang the Advent Carol - "People, Look East" in church this Sunday. It is funny how a carol I encountered in reading blogs and other readings on Advent just recently, in the last two days, brought this carol to my attention. Somehow I do not remember this carol from any Advent season before, but here it is, with words just so occasioned for this third week of Advent.
I came home from church, and plucked a lovely, old book from my shelf - The Oxford Book of Carols. I found it in there, along with the music. I read through the words I had just sung in church and let the words of ages past float around in my head. I really like this carol as it looks at what is to come, with a longing and a voice of song - to look eastward to the coming Christ, as we look eastward to the coming day.
It is about preparing your home, quieting your busy-ness, gazing to the grand order of the cosmos, feeling encouraged through the tough times, and singing so that all the earth can know the Lord is coming.
It rings true of Jesus's first coming at Christmas, but it also has a second meaning as we continue to look eastward for Jesus's second coming. In these words is the wonder and patience of waiting actively. Pursuing with eager feet, and continuing onward as we wait.
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 to-day:
Love the Star is on the way.
I love the descriptive words used for Jesus in all the verses (star, rose, guest, bird) rather than using His name during Advent, as we cannot exclaim what we do not yet know. We withhold saying the name until the day when we can suddenly burst forth in celebration. It is a reminder to us that Jesus is all those things, and everything we need. He is the beauty and the necessity, as in Him and through Him all things hold together.