Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Comfort, Comfort Ye My People

Praise for the Lord #109

Words: Johann Olearius, 1671; translated, Catherine Winkworth, 1863
Music: PSALM 42, Louis Bourgeois's Genevan Psalter, 1551; harmonized, Claude Goudimel, 1565

Johann Olearius (1611-1684) came from a prominent family of Lutheran theologians, including his father Johann (1546-1623), a brother Gottfried (1604-1685), two nephews, and five of his sons, not to mention extended family!("Johannes Olearius") To make things especially confusing, he named all of his sons Johann, with different middle names. Seriously. But in addition to theological writings, our Johann distinguished himself in the area of hymn-writing.

Olearius compiled a massive volume of hymns under the title Geistliche Singe-Kunst (1671), containing no fewer than 1,218 texts; the following year he issued a second volume under the same title, containing 1,340! His own hymns number nearly 300. One of his texts, "Gelobet sei der Herr," was the basis of a cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach (BWV 129). "Comfort, comfort ye my people" is a translation of his Tröstet, tröstet meine Lieben, a stanza of which appears in Bach's cantata Freue dich, erlöste Schaar (BWV 30).("Johannes Olearius") The text of this hymn is obviously drawn from Isaiah 40:1-5, and Olearius stays close to the actual wording of this passage in the 1545 Luther translation. He adds a few lines in the process of rendering this in poetic form, possibly drawing on Jeremiah 31 as well, as noted below.

If you love the old Lutheran chorales such as "O sacred head" and "A mighty Fortress," thank Catherine Winkworth (1827-1878), the translator of this hymn. She is one of the primary reasons that English-speaking Christians outside of the Lutheran denomination have come to know the treasures of that musical tradition. Her chorale translations first appeared in Lyra Germanica (1853); its immediate success led to a second volume under that title in 1858, and the Chorale Book for England (1863), which introduced "Comfort, comfort ye my people."(DNB) Winkworth, who had a thorough classical education and was friends with Elizabeth Gaskell and Charlotte Brontë, had that rare combination of scholarship and artistry required to do such work well. Her other translations in Praise for the Lord are "If thou but suffer God to guide Thee"(#324), "Jesus, priceless treasure"(#361), "Now thank we all our God"(#457,#458), and "Praise to the Lord, the Almighty"(#534).

"Comfort, comfort ye my people" comes from the opening words of Isaiah chapter 40, the very beginning point of that section of which Isaiah's authorship has been disputed for more than a century. I claim no authority in this kind of argument except that of common sense; yes, the section from chapter 40 to the end is different in subject matter and style, but there are many reasons that could happen. Perhaps there was a gap of time between Isaiah's writing of the two sections. Anyone who writes much can attest that style and expressions change over time. The different subject matter calls for a different tone as well.

And for that matter, why couldn't a writer adopt a radical shift of style and point of view for the shock effect alone? There is a hilarious story connected to W. A. Mozart's C major string quartet K.465, known as the "Dissonant Quartet" for its strikingly chromatic opening section. One of Mozart's publishers was certain that these had to be wrong notes, so he "corrected" them, to the composer's disgust! In the same way, some higher critics seem unable to make allowance for the genius, not to mention the inspiration, of the writers of Scripture.

How does the modern Christian, living in such a different position from the original writer, and from those in the days when these words were fulfilled, engage with this text and sing it in worship? Olearius wrote this hymn for a specific church festival, the birth of John the Baptizer, celebrated 24 June. I do not suggest we keep sacred festivals not given to us in Scripture, but this hymn would certainly be appropriate in a Bible class or worship service in which the lesson focused on the work of this great forerunner to Christ. This hymn also causes us to reflect upon our own mission, not unlike John's, to spread the news of the kingdom that is already here, and to point people to Christ. Finally, in this hymn calling for preparation for Christ's First Advent, we might pick up a pre-echo of our current situation as we await the Second Advent and the consummation of His kingdom in heaven.

Stanza 1:
Comfort, comfort ye my people,
Speak ye peace, thus saith our God;
Comfort those who sit in darkness,
Mourning 'neath their sorrows' load.
Speak ye to Jerusalem
Of the peace that waits for them;
Tell her that her sins I cover,
And her warfare now is over.

Miss Winkworth followed the grand language of the King James Version in several lines of her translation: "Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned."(Isaiah 40:1-2a) The 3rd-4th lines are not from Isaiah chapter 40; Olearius's text reads something like, "Comfort those who are afflicted / by the scorn and derision of the foe." I have not discovered a Scripture corresponding to this, though it is obviously much in character of the Isaiah 40 passage. Winkworth goes in a slightly different direction with these lines, referencing Isaiah 9:2, "The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them has the light shined."

The Hebrew expression translated "comfort" in Isaiah 40 is nacham, a verb with an interesting range of meanings. Depending on context, it can mean "grieve," "repent," "take pity," or "give comfort."(Strong's H5162) This seems reminiscent of how God's interaction with Israel is described in the Hebrew Testament. The same word is used to describe God "repenting" (Exodus 32:14, KJV), in the sense of a change of heart and thus of future actions, of His initial decision to destroy the nation for the sin of worshiping the golden calf. Moses' desperate pleading caused God to grieve over the planned result, and to show mercy to the people. Time and time again throughout the nation's history, a period of sinful rebellion would end in God's protection being withdrawn, and the result was disaster. But time and time again, God was grieved at the suffering they had brought on themselves, took pity on them, and brought comfort to their affliction.

This is no "comfort," then, in the sense of being "comfortable." Rather, it is the comforting that a parent gives a misbehaving child, who, after receiving the consequences of his actions (not without tears), turns for reassurance and acceptance to the same parent who disciplined him. David might have thought of this richness of meaning in Psalm 23:4, "Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me." The shepherd's rod and staff can be weapons for proctection of the sheep, or tools to help the sheep out of a difficulty, but they can also deliver a correcting nudge (or something more substantial) to get the wayward sheep back into safety.

The same background lies behind the "comfort" of the Lord in Isaiah. "I will give thanks to You, O LORD, for though You were angry with me, Your anger turned away, that You might comfort me."(Isaiah 12:1) Following the dramatic turn of events in chapter 40, "comforting" is spoken of frequently:
For the LORD comforts Zion; He comforts all her waste places and makes her wilderness like Eden, her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the voice of song.(Isaiah 51:3)

Break forth together into singing, you waste places of Jerusalem, for the LORD has comforted His people; He has redeemed Jerusalem.(Isaiah 52:9)
It was John the Baptizer's role to speak this comfort to Jerusalem, but it was a spiritual comforting, not a literal deliverance. The wilderness did not turn into a literal Eden, as in the the verse quoted above; but when John was privileged to publicly announce, "Behold! The Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world!,"(John 1:29) that desert turned into a paradise for those who were seeking the Lord.

Jesus came as a light to those who sat in darkness,(Matthew 4:12-17) as a reliever of burdens of sin,(Matthew 11:30) and a bringer of peace. The peace Jesus brought, however, was complicated. It was not a rapprochement between Judea and Rome, or a revolution against the same; it was an inward peace, and yet would bring about external effects just as surely as an armed revolt. After all, He said himself, "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword."(Matthew 10:34) Following Christ's path brings about division from this world, sometimes to the point of physical persecution.

But there is peace, regardless of circumstances, in knowing peace with God. "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered." (Psalm 32:1) It was this "peace on earth"that was promised at Christ's birth: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased!"(Luke 2:14) That inner peace remains today for those who are reconciled to God: "The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."(Philippians 4:7)

The spiritual "warfare" of Jerusalem (the capital city standing in for the nation itself in this passage) was brought to an end, at least in an ideal sense, with the coming of Christ. The long period of waiting and watching for the Lord's promise was completed, and despite trials and suffering through centuries of upheaval and oppression, God's will would not be thwarted. He had promised that the line of David would not fail, and that a king would reign on that throne forever.(1 Kings 9:5) With the coming of that final and greatest King, and the establishment of a spiritual kingdom that "will never be destroyed,"(Daniel 2:44) those faithful among Israel who had stood at their posts, as watchers on the wall,(Ezekiel 33:7) could see at last the fulfillment of the long years of struggle.

Wonderful as this comfort and peace is, however, we look forward to a day when comfort, release, and peace will be perfected in heaven. In that place, "God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away."(Revelation 21:4) In that place there will be no more sin or temptation, because "there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie."(Revelation 21:27) In that place, "nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."(Isaiah 2:4)

The complete hymn has another stanza here, sometimes omitted, based on the second half of Isaiah 40:2, "Tell her that her sins are pardoned; for she hath received of the LORD's hand double for all her sins."

Yea, her sins our God will pardon,
Blotting out each dark misdeed;
All that well deserved His anger
He will no more see nor heed.
She has suffered many a day,
Now her griefs have passed away,
God will change her pining sadness
Into ever springing gladness.

Olearius expands on his main text again in the 3rd-4th lines, possibly referencing Jeremiah 31:34b, "For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more," or Isaiah 43:25, "I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins." The final two lines seem to echo Jeremiah 31:13b, "I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow." (The resemblance is more obvious in the German original: "Their joy shall day by day be multiplied / And their sorrow into joy be transformed.")

The spiritual situation before Christ was certainly sorrowful. The people had been taken into exile, and returned only as a remnant; prophecy had fallen silent; and there was the lingering memory of Ezekiel's vision of the Glory of the Lord leaving the temple.(Ezekiel 10) Solomon's great dedication prayer acknowledged that the temple meant nothing without the Lord's presence:
But will God indeed dwell with man on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain You, how much less this house that I have built! Yet have regard to the prayer of Your servant and to his plea, O LORD my God, listening to the cry and to the prayer that Your servant prays before you, that Your eyes may be open day and night toward this house, the place where You have promised to set Your name, that You may listen to the prayer that Your servant offers toward this place.(2 Chronicles 6:18-20)
It was to the temple that sacrifices for sins were brought, and to which the people of Israel turned in prayer for forgiveness:
Whatever prayer, whatever plea is made by any man or by all Your people Israel, each knowing his own affliction and his own sorrow and stretching out his hands toward this house, then hear from heaven Your dwelling place and forgive and render to each whose heart You know, according to all his ways, for You, You only, know the hearts of the children of mankind.(2 Chronicles 6:29-30)
But though that presence had been withdrawn before the exile, Malachi had promised that the Lord would return to His temple,(Malachi 3:1) and Jesus Christ very literally brought that to completion. Then, at His formal presentation, John the Baptizer cried out, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world!"(John 1:29) The miracles of Jesus caused some controversy, but the real conflict began when He forgave sins--His enemies objected, in a statement more accurate than they realized, "Who can forgive sins, but God only?"(Mark 2:7) This was the deliverance the nation truly needed, and the deliverance the world needs today.

Stanza 2:
Hark, the voice of one that crieth
In the desert far and near,
Bidding all men to repentance
Since the kingdom now is here.
O that warning cry obey!
Now prepare for God a way;
Let the valleys rise to meet Him,
And the hills bow down to greet Him.

The basis of this stanza is one of the most thrilling passages spoken by any prophet. Handel, the master dramatist of the London opera stage, knew this and made it into a powerful and memorable aria in his Messiah:
The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, "Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God! Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low."(Isaiah 40:3-4a)
Winkworth's original has "For Elijah's voice is crying"(Chorale Book, #83); our altered version is actually closer to Olearius's original, which follows Isaiah 40:3. Olearius does expand on the text somewhat in the 3rd-4th lines, however, possibly referencing the fulfillment of this prophecy in Matthew 3:1-2, "In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.'" The 5th line is completely Winkworth's; the German original follows Isaiah's "make straight in the desert a highway" at this point. Is there perhaps in Winkworth's "warning cry" an echo of the "midnight cry"of Matthew 25:6? "But at midnight there was a cry, 'Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.'" This also touches on the similarities and differences between Christ's first and second Advents.

One of the striking elements of J. R. R. Tolkien's fantasy trilogy Lord of the Rings (and just one of many Scripture references in that work) is the plot line of Aragorn, the last survivor of a long-lost royal line, who lays claim to a kingdom that has been ruled for centuries by a succession of stewards. The final book of the trilogy, The Return of the King, shows the sad downfall of the last steward, Denethor, whose admirable stand against the forces of evil is tainted by his jealous rejection of Aragorn--the king for whom he was supposed to be preserving the throne. (Admittedly, fans of the book still debate this point in the plot!)

Jesus faced a similar reception from most of the religious leaders among His own people. Malachi chapter 3 begins with these thought-provoking words:
"Behold, I send My messenger, and he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to His temple; and the Messenger of the Covenant in whom you delight, behold, He is coming," says the LORD of hosts. But who can endure the day of His coming, and who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap.(Malachi 3:1-2)
After hundreds of years, the Lord did indeed return to His temple; would those who claimed to be waiting for Him be ready for what they got? John, the herald, warned them:
Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will clear His threshing floor and gather His wheat into the barn, but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.(Matthew 3:10-12)
When the Messiah came, it was a time for rejoicing, but it was also a time for serious decision. Would the people of God believe in their King? If they believed in Him, would they obey? Many of the leadership realized Jesus was at least "a teacher come from God."(John 3:2) But when it came down to it, they decided, "We have no king but Caesar."(John 19:15)

The same question is before each of us today: Will we believe? Will we obey? If so, we will "prepare the way" to receive the King--we will obey what He commands. John's "warning cry" to receive the King still echoes down through the years, but someday there will be another cry: not to repentance, or announcing a kingdom, but declaring the return of the King to judge His subjects. "For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God."(1 Thessalonians 4:16) Someday "every knee shall bow."(Isaiah 45:23) The only question is, will I bow to Him now, and let Him be Lord in my life, or will I bow only then when it is too late?

Stanza 3:
Make ye straight what long was crooked,
Make the rougher places plain;
Let your hearts be true and humble,
As befits His holy reign.
For the glory of the Lord
Now o'er earth is shed abroad;
And all flesh shall see the token
That His word is never broken.

The final stanza of the hymn comes from the 4th and 5th verses of Isaiah 40. Again Winkworth follows the King James Version closely:
"And the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain. And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it."
The 3rd-4th lines, however, do not appear to come from this passage; I cannot find a specific Scripture to which they relate, though they obviously are in harmony with the text at hand.

One specific choice by Winkworth--the word "token" in the penultimate line--may strike the ear as rather odd. The reason for this peculiar wording likely goes back to her meticulous care to convey the poetic quality of the original text, which in this case includes "double rhyme" (rhyming each syllable in two-syllable words) at the end of each stanza.(Chorale Book, vi) I suspect this happens more naturally in German, because both the declension of nouns and conjugation of verbs tend to add unaccented syllables at the ends of words (e.g. Erde / werde, Fleish kann sehen / muß geschehen in this stanza). It's not so easy to pull off well in English, and my respect for Winkworth's craft has risen another notch!

These words reminds us that repentance is no easy thing. When we build a literal highway, there is a huge amount of planning, time, effort, and expense involved in preparing the road bed. I am reminded of Interstate Highway 540 that connects Fayetteville, Arkansas to Interstate 40, one of the major east-west highways. This western portion of the Ozark mountains is beautiful but rugged country, and I have driven the little state highways through this region with my heart in my mouth; the twists and turns, steep climbs and sharp drops make it like riding rollercoaster, except without the assurance that the ride will end safely. By contrast, Interstate 540 is a broad, level road, where my greatest danger was falling asleep from the pleasant ride. I cannot imagine how much work it took to blast through the hills, build up the grades, put in bridges, and dig the lengthy tunnel required to make this level road.

John's words in Isaiah 40 tell us that this is what Jesus wants to do with us--He wants to make a royal highway into our hearts, by which we can be in constant communion with our Lord. The crooked, twisted parts of our lives can be straightened out. The rough places can be leveled off, and the gaps filled. We cannot do this on our own; we may not even be able to imagine what Jesus can make of us, just as I could not have imagined such a straight and level highway in that part of Arkansas. But this is what Jesus wants to do with our lives. He is willing to start with me "Just as I am," but He doesn't intend me to remain that way!

The "glory of the Lord" was seen on earth again when Jesus was born, revealed first to humble shepherds.(Luke 2:9) "The true Light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world."(John 1:9) Those who came to know Jesus and heard His words could say, "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth."(John 1:14) This light and glory was to spread across the world through the teaching of Jesus' disciples; and as the crowd said in Thessalonica, those disciples "turned the world upside down."(Acts 17:6) Paul proclaimed his mission then, and our mission today, in this picturesque passage:
For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.(2 Corinthians 4:5-7)
The glory of the Lord shone on this earth one night 2,000 years ago; we need to reflect it in our lives, so that people will know that we "have been with Jesus."(Acts 4:13) But there is a day coming, of course, when the "glory of the Lord" will be seen by every person, and no one will be able to ignore it or turn away:
When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. Before Him will be gathered all the nations, and He will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.(Matthew 25:31-32)
At that revelation, there will be no more time to repent and prepare. And though "all flesh shall see Him together" on that day,(Isaiah 40:5) not everyone will see it the same way. "Who can endure the day of His coming?"(Malachi 3:2) Those who understand and respond to the grace expressed in this promise: "The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance."(2 Peter 3:9) If we have obeyed His gospel and are walking in His light, then we can spend our time here, "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ."(Titus 2:13)

Here is a very nice a cappella rendition of this hymn, with a slightly different harmonization than what is used in Praise for the Lord, sung by the Chapel Choir of the Conrad Grebel University College (Waterloo, Ontario:(

About the music:

Douen's groundbreaking work on the 16th-century French psalters identifies this tune as one of those provided by Louis Bourgeois (c. 1510-1560) for Psalm 42, "Ainsi qu'on oit le cerf bruire" ("As the deer pants for the water"), in the 1551 edition of the Geneva Psalter.(Douen, 1:649) Douen also notes, "The reader familiar with our Psalter will notice that almost all of the best tunes, the most original and most melodious . . . belong to the first period of the publication, that is to say, to Bourgeois."(Douen, 1:650) Bourgeois (c. 1510-1560) is the best-known of the tune-smiths associated with Calvinist Psalm-singing in Geneva, which in turn carried over to the English-language Psalm-singing tradition. His best-known contribution, of course, was OLD HUNDREDTH.

PSALM 42 is an excellent example of the folk-like tunes that characterized early Reformed psalmody, and there is speculation that Bourgeois adapted this tune from the secular song "Ne l’oseray je dire," found in the Bayeux Manuscript c. 1510.(Fornaçon). Some elements are simple to the extreme, such as syllabic setting of the text (one syllable, one note) and the use of only two different note values (in our version, the quarter note and half note; the whole notes at the ends of phrases are really more like written-out holds). Some elements are quite complex, particularly the variety of phrase lengths, the quickly shifting meters, and the tendency toward syncopation.(Owens, 2) The only leaps in the melody are between notes in the tonic triad (DO, MI, and SOL); otherwise it moves entirely by step, within the range of an octave. The meter is so varied, however, that the version in Praise for the Lord uses no time signature at all. If time signatures had been used, they would have given us:
6/4 | 3/2 | 6/4 | 4/2


6/4 | 3/2 | 6/4 | 3/2

6/4 | 3/2 | 6/4 | 4/2
I suppose this could have been written with a 6/4 3/2 mixed-meter signature at the beginning, and the 4/2 bars given as 3/2 bars with written holds on the final notes.

This particular rhythm is sometimes called "hemiola," referring to the ratio 3:2, because the two beats of 6/4 time (2 dotted half-notes, each worth 3 quarter notes) are replaced by three beats in 3/2 time (3 half notes, each worth 2 quarter notes). It is characteristic of some kinds of folk music, especially for dancing, and was especially common in the secular music of the Renaissance. The Italian "frottola" seemed to use it frequently, as in the video example at the right. No wonder Queen Elizabeth referred to the Calvinist tunes as those "Genevan jigs!"(Owens)
Though the original Reformed practice in public worship was to sing Psalms in a cappella unison, there were many harmonized settings produced as well. The most influential of these came from Claude Goudimel (d. 1572), an accomplished sacred and secular composer whose conversion to Huguenot principles cost him his life in the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre. Goudimel created more complex choral motets based on the Psalm tunes, but also very simple, syllabic works such as the 1565 four-part setting of Psalm 42.(Mancini) This is available online thanks to Christof Biebricher's transcription. In keeping with the practice of the times, the melody was in the tenor voice. The upper parts of Goudimel's original are split up between the alto and tenor in the modern version, but otherwise they are pretty similar.

Johann Schein used this tune for the text "Freu dich sehr" in his 1645 Cantional, and this has become the common name of this tune in the Lutheran chorale tradition.(Terry, 2:165) There are settings of this tune by Johann Crüger and others, which account for the many different harmonizations that are sometimes heard. Michael Owens's Genevan Psalter Resource Center ( has a page on the Psalm 42 tune with information about several other settings.


"Johannes Olearius (1611-1684)." Wikipedia (German).

"Catherine and Susanna Winkworth." Dictionary of National Biography, reproduced at Eclectic Ethereal Encyclopedia of the Christian Classics Ethereal Library.

The Chorale Book for England, Catherine Winkworth, translator, William Sterndale Bennett and Otto Goldschmidt, music editors. London: Longman, Green & Co., 1863.

"Nacham (Strong's H5162)." Genesius's Lexicon, provided through

Douen, Orentin. Clément Marot et le Psautier huguenot, 2 volumes. Paris: Impremiere nationale, 1878. Volume I:

Owens, Michael E. "The Geneva Psalter." 2008. From The Genevan Psalter Resource Center.

Terry, Charles Sanford. Bach's Chorals, 3 volumes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1917. Volume 2:

Fornaçon, Siegfried. "Psalm 42 aus Genf." Jahrbuch für Liturgik und Hymnologie, 3 (1958-1959), pp. 111-113. Cited in The Hymnal 1982 Companion, ed. Raymond F. Glover. New York: Church Pension Fund, 1994, volume 3, page 127 (see this page also for comparison of the melodies).

Mancini, Donato. "Claude Goudimel."

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for this. I stumbled upon your blog, as I am beginning to teach an Advent series, and am NOT so musically inclined. I needed to learn this, and look forward to sharing it with our congregation.