Charles Wesley’s Christmas carol, “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus,” is brimming with incredible imagery.  Each line is worthy of paragraph of its own.  In the first verse alone he gives us no less than six pictures of Jesus:  he was born to set people free from fears and sin; he is the source of rest; he is the strength and consolation of Israel; he is the hope of all the earth; he is the desire of every nation; and the joy of every longing heart.  The carol recalls the expectation of Christ’s coming and the realization of his arrival, but it also looks towards our final redemption.

The last words of this carol state, “By Thine all sufficient merit, raise us to Thy glorious throne.” Christ descended from his glorious place in heaven so that he could raise us to his glorious throne.  He came down to us.  We could not go up to him on our own.  If you look at religions around the world, you will find that most are working to raise themselves up to the place of God.  Because of our sin, this is an impossible task.  The apostle Paul says in Ephesians 4:9-10, “In saying, He ascended, what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth?  He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens that he might fill all things.”  In Christ’s birth, God descended into his creation in order that he might take us to where he is.  He has ascended back into his heavenly glory but he will return again as he promised.

In this Advent season, let us consider the second advent of our Lord.  Let us pray for the second advent of our long expected Jesus.

by Charles Wesley (1744)

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

Joy to those who long to see thee
Day-spring from on high appear
Come thou promised Rod of Jesse
Of Thy birth we long to hear
O’er the hills the angels singing
News glad tidings of a birth
Go to him your praises bringing
Christ the Lord has come to earth

Come to earth to taste our sadness
He whose glories knew no end
By his life he brings us gladness
Our Redeemer Shepherd Friend
Leaving riches without number
Born within a cattle stall
This the everlasting wonder
Christ was born Lord of all

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

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