Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus (verse 1)
Come, thou long expected Jesus,born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us,
let us find our rest in thee.
Israel's strength and consolation,
hope of all the earth thou art;
dear desire of every nation,
joy of every longing heart.
Depending on the Christmas Hymn (Carol) we may spend more than one day on each- starting with this one. Today is verse 1 of “Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus”, read it slowly. Let it soak in.
Do you know how long God had been silent between the last of the prophets in the Old Testament, which was Malachi, and the time when the silence from heaven was broken, in the temple by Gabriel the angel, to Zacharias the priest? 400 years. God was silent….that does not mean He wasn’t working or in control or that He was not loving but He was silent. Shhhh….can you hear the silence?In typical human fashion, stuff grows in silence. Sometimes it is hope, sometimes it is fear and sometimes the stuff that grows in silence is assumptions that shift what we really know to be true- like the truth that the real freedom needed for Israel and all mankind was from sin.
From the very beginning sin was the real enemy….in Genesis 4:7b God told Cain, “sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” The problem is; no one has ever been able to master sin. Sin is our master; we are born that way…in Adam’s likeness.Yet God promised a Seed from the very beginning as well, way back in Genesis 3:15, in the Garden of Eden, as God spoke to the serpent who is satan; “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.” This Seed, which is Jesus Christ, will redeem and set free from the real enemy which is satan, sin and death.
Do our hearts long to be set free? Israel’s collective heart longed to be set free but in the long silence (and from the beginning) they wanted to be set free from the wrong thing….from Rome (and a myriad of other oppressors) and from the oppression of this world. Doesn’t that sound familiar? I, so often, want to be set free from my heartache, pain, circumstances, obligations, expectations or….you fill in the blank. What does your heart long to be free from?
What they and we need is to be set free from sin-sick selves! “Come Thou long expected Jesus…. born to set thy people free; from our fears and sins release us, let us find our rest in thee.”
Jesus Christ was long-expected….they just expected something else. He truly was/is; “Israel's strength and consolation, hope of all the earth thou art; dear desire of every nation, joy of every longing heart.” May our heart long for Him and Him alone!
Here is a link to the song; http://youtu.be/xal35DgmSUs