Daily Advent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Sunday, December 10, Evening

By Dr. Edie Johnson, Organist and Music Associate

People, Look East

Read: Isaiah 40:4

Eleanor Farjeon (1881-1965), daughter of a British novelist and granddaughter of an American actor, penned this Advent hymn replete with vivid seasonal imagery. Though a shy girl who grew up in London with three brothers (one of whom became a composer), Farjeon became a well-known writer of children’s books, nursery rhymes, and another very popular poem/hymn, Morning Has Broken. At only 16 years old, she wrote the libretto for an opera which her composer brother later set to music!

This beautiful hymn text begins with an exhortation for all of us to “look East,” the direction of the rising sun. She continues with the metaphor of preparing one’s home and hearth for how we might prepare our hearts for “Love, the Guest.” Next, we are reminded of the parable of the sower — earth is bare and seeds are planted. How will this flower flourish in our hearts as we prepare for “Love, the Rose?” In stanza 3, “Stars, keep the watch,” referencing the guiding star over the stable in Bethlehem that the wise men followed. The light from this star brings brightness even when we are experiencing darkness and difficult times in our own lives. It shines brighter than “sun and moon together” as we prepare for “Love, the Star.” Finally, Angels announce with great joy the birth of the Messiah that brings new life to us all. Farjeon refers to Isaiah 40:4: 

Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain.

“People, look east and sing today: Love, the Lord, is on the way.”


Dear God, we pray for your presence in our lives as we prepare for the coming of your Son this Advent season. Please let your Word take root and blossom in our hearts so that we may show the light and love of your Son Jesus Christ to the world. Amen.

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