As we begin Advent this Sunday, Nov 27, we take time to slow down and foster a sense of longing, anticipating the coming of the Savior.
These 4 weeks leading to Christmas are a great opportunity to remember that for centuries God’s people had looked forward with longing and anticipation to the Messiah. Indeed, ever since the promise of a Savior in Eden, (Genesis 3) God’s people had long for, had searched for the One who fix the rift between humans and God, Who would atone for sins once and for all, and Who would reign over all.
It’s also a great time to long for the return of our Savior to culminate the plan of God and to bring to pass all the remaining promises of God – that there will be no more pain or sorrow or grief or tears or sin – that joy and peace will abound, that the healing of the nations will be a reality - and that God will dwell among His people.
One of the great songs that captures this so well is Charles Wesley’s “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus”. Often hymnals only include 2 of the original 4 verses – but all are powerful. Give a listen to them all in the video.
~ Pastor Doug Allord
More on how Wesley wrote the song after the video below.
"After reading these words [Haggai 2:7], Wesley began to consider what Jesus' birth meant to the world's people. The minister lived in a time when many were suffering in hunger and poverty. There were orphans all around him. The distinction between the classes was distinct and large. He also knew a world in which slavery was allowed. It seemed that in the more than 1,700 years since the Lord had come, humanity had improved little, if at all.
As Wesley considered the plight of so many in the world and then thought of Jesus' birth, then him, a hopeful thought consumed him. With great anticipation he found himself looking forward toward the second coming of Christ, desiring to see that with much zeal as the writer of Haggai had looked forward to the Lord's birth. And like the man who wrote down those words in the Old Testament, Wesley realized he would have to be patient. God's timing would take precedence over man's desires.
As he thought of what the birth meant in the eyes of those looking forward to it, Wesley began to jot down the lines of "Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus." Much more than a babe in the manger, the Jesus Charles wrote about was the adult king who came to set people free. He was the fulfilling of prophecy and the answer to the problems not only of every man, woman, and child, but of each of the earth's nations. Though Wesley's lyrics acknowledged and emphasized the mighty power of God, his words also embraced the loving nature of Jesus. While it was the power that would deliver the world from sin, it was God's love that would ultimately change us into being more like Jesus. When he finished "Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus," Wesley had perfectly married power and love."
- from More Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas by Ace Collins
copyright 2006 by Andrew Collins. Published by Zondervan, Grand Rapids , MI