“We tell you the good news: What God promised our fathers He has fulfilled for us, their children by raising up Jesus.”Acts 13:32-33a
I discovered the hymn, “Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus” is actually an advent hymn. That means the lyrics speak to, not only the time of expectant waiting and celebration of the nativity of Jesus at Christmas, but also to the return of Jesus at the second coming.
The lyrics of the hymn are incredible and filled with hope and promise.
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.
I must confess that I often retreat to the nostalgia and security of Christmases past. That simpler and safer time of a holy baby in a manager, a bright star, happy carols, and a warm feeling centered on the hope of a better tomorrow. All of these sentiments are completely appropriate and desirable. The observance of the birth of Christ should be a time of celebration and praise.
But, this hymn reminds us that, while the babe in the manger came to give us hope and forgiveness in our day, He is also coming again as our conquering King to completely defeat Satan once and for all. The thought of our Lord returning soon sends a shiver of excitement up my spine and gives me strength and courage to face the difficult days to come.
Christmas should be a time for us to celebrate the birth of our Savior but it should also be a time for us to remember why we are here and what we are preparing for. We are here to fulfill our calling—to seek and save what was lost. We are preparing for His return.
We are reminded in Revelation 2 that Jesus is standing at the door and knocking. Christmas reminds us that Jesus came, and He is coming again! Let’s open the door this Christmas and together proclaim, “Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus!” Merry Christmas!
Executive Pastor of Ministries
Ryland believes the church should be the center of our community, operating as a New Testament church to serve as “home” for thousands of people. Ryland and his wife, Renea, have two married daughters, Shea and Kelsi, and three grandchildren.