Fun facts about one of my favorite Advent Hymns, “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus”:
1. Written by Charles Wesley and first published in 1745.
2. Adapted from Haggai 2:7, …and I will sake all the nations, so that the treasure of all nations shall come, and I will fill this house with splendor, says the Lord of hosts.
3. The text of the song has been used with at least three different melodies.
4. The Hymnology Archive has this to say about the significance of the of theme and how this hymn was written: With its opening line beckoning “Come,” this hymn is best suited for the season of Advent. The hymn has a strong message of spiritual deliverance. The first stanza applies several descriptors to the Christ child: strength, consolation, hope of all the earth, desire of every nation, and joy of every longing heart. The second stanza drives home its point by using repetition, listing three circumstances for which the Saviour will be born, followed by the urgency of “now.” The hymn goes on to describe how this reign will be facilitated by the Holy Spirit, taking place in the heart, and made possible only by Christ’s merit, not our own.
Why do I love this hymn?
Every time I read these words, or sing the melody it quickens my spirit. I am reminded of the meaning of this season. I can’t imagine what this world was like before the arrival of the Light of The World, so I think on my darkest of days. I remember how it felt to have to have so little hope that things would get better. Yet still, there was hope. It may have only been a glimmer, but it was enough to refresh my spirit and keep me moving forward. Hope came in the form of scripture that stood out to me during a bible study, and a kind word from a loved one. It showed itself in a smile from a stranger, or a hug, or a special token from a friend.
This season will be rough for some of our family here at Bethesda. Some are experiencing their first holidays without a loved one. Some are dealing with health issues, and some are carrying burdens the weight of which we will never know. Some will not feel up to the celebration and frivolity of the season. May I encourage you to reach out, and check in on your people? Gather in those who are spending the holidays alone. They may find comfort in a special service planned for Wednesday, December 21st at 5pm. The Blue Christmas service is designed to give space to those who want to observe the rituals of Christmas worship, but need to do so quietly, in a more contemplative fashion.
This Advent season, may we be the light of hope that guides others through this season of waiting into the joyous celebration of the arrival of our Savior, Jesus Christ.