I’ve been eager for the season of Advent. It’s one of my favorite times of the year, particularly in the Church year. It’s the reset, the start of the next Church season, and a season all about hoping, waiting and anticipating. Outside the church, it’s that in between time; the celebration and fun of Thanksgiving carries me through the dark and quiet month of December until the joy of Christmas arrives.
I cherish the Advent season with the weekly candle lightings as the time of Christ’s birth approaches, the hunt for the perfect gift for my nieces and nephew and the wrapping of the gift to perfection, the slow transformation of my home to Christmas mode and the light of my tree that fills the darkness of my home each night. The rhythms of worship and the hymns that fill the church and our hearts with songs that speak of waiting and anticipating and the truth of where our hope is found.
Our hope is found in the cradle and the cross. Our hope is found in the baby lying in the animal food trough and the man nailed to a cross. Our hope is found swaddled in Mary’s arms and in the empty tomb.
One of my favorite Advent hymns, that speaks to my deepest desires, is Come Thou Long Expected Jesus. I cued up one of my favorite versions of this song on my phone (slightly before Advent, I must confess) and the words, written originally by Charles Wesley, seemed even more applicable this year than ever before.
The hymn begins, “Come thou long expected Jesus, born to set Thy people free.” I reflected, how often is this the prayer of my heart especially as we look back on the year 2020 has been. This hymn continues to speak of the freeing of God’s people with the coming of Christ, not only into a manger but His coming again to redeem the world.
In Advent we are reminded of the foundation of our hope, which is present in the midst of the waiting and anticipating. Our hope is found in the cradle and the cross. Our hope is found in the baby lying in the animal food trough and the man nailed to a cross. Our hope is found swaddled in Mary’s arms and in the empty tomb.
In our waiting and anticipating this season, my prayer is that you find hope in our Savior, a babe born in a manger and who promised to come and redeem the world. I encourage you to listen to the hymn (my favorite is the cover by Future of Forestry ) and sit in the waiting and anticipating of this season with hope. Come Jesus, come.
“Come, Thou long expected Jesus, born to set Thy people free.”
Set us free Lord from fear, from doubts, from darkness. Come Jesus, come.
“From our fears and sins release us, let us find our rest in Thee.”
Ground our rest in you. Come Jesus, come.
“Dear desire of every nation, joy of every longing heart.”
Turn our eyes to you to see the joy You bring. Come Jesus, come.
“Come to earth to taste our sadness, He whose glories knew no end.”
We praise you for coming to earth to bear our sin. Come Jesus, come.
“By Thine own eternal Spirit, rule in all our hearts alone.”
Rule in our hearts today Lord; rule over all. Come Jesus, come.