Monday, December 17, 2012

"Come Thou Long Expected Jesus"

These last few weeks our root group has been going through some not-so-famous Christmas and Advent hymns--breaking them down, looking at the scripture that inspired them. Last week we listened to "Come Thou Long Expected Jesus." The hymn was penned by Charles Wesley in the middle of the 18th century, and speaks poignantly about the hopeful anticipation of a Messiah. 

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.

Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.

As we were discussing, our group leader brought up the 400 years of "silence" the people of Israel experienced between the prophet Malachi and the birth of Jesus. He turned to me (resident history nerd) and asked, "what was happening 400 years ago?" 

"Well, the Pilgrims were getting ready to sail to America. . ." I said.

And that brought the idea closer to home. What if we had experienced 400 years of God's "silence"? It would be like the Mayflower landing (1620) and us not hearing from the Lord until the year 2020. Wow. We would be really antsy at that point. Definitely eagerly awaiting something. 

The Messiah was undeniably long-expected, long hoped for. He did not come as they thought He would, but he came. At the "fullness of time," Galatians 4:4 says, "God sent forth his Son."

Click here to listen to a new rendition of the hymn by Mars Hill's band, Kingdom Kaleidescope.

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