The original (in German) was written by Johannes Olearius, with another able translation to English by Catherine Winkworth. The more familiar tune setting is "Freu dich sehr," found in the Geneva Psalter. Originally for the feast of St. John the Baptist, the herald's words, ringing in our ears for these past "four" weeks, are a fitting way to make our final preparation.
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.
2. 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 hath suffer'd many a day,
Now her griefs have passed away,
God will change her pining sadness
Into ever-springing gladness.
3. For Elijah's voice is crying
In the desert far and near,
Bidding all men to repentance,
Since the kingdom now is here.
Oh 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.
4. 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.