Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus

Guest post by Rebecca VanDeMark

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.

If there is one thing that we all know from the hard seasons of life, it is that the season of waiting seems to go on indefinitely with no exact end date assured. Waiting for test results to come back. Waiting for answers. Waiting for broken relationships to be restored. Waiting for unemployment to end. Waiting for a place that we can call home. Waiting for a husband. Waiting for a child. Waiting for an adventure to begin. Waiting for the life we long for to begin. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting.

During this season of waiting, it is so easy to become discouraged at the length of time that is required. It can even be easy to question if our waiting seasons will end here on earth or if we will have to wait to see the fulfillment of our longings in Heaven.

As we approach this Christmas season, you may be pondering these thoughts as well. Last year I learned something really fascinating and that is, contrary to popular belief, the season of Advent is rarely four weeks long and it can vary from year to year what its exact length is. After reading this I was drawn in fascination to this fact. For me, it caught me in awe because it mirrored so much of my waiting season…the waiting and the variance of time during these waiting seasons. To be frank, I hadn’t known much about Advent before this but threw myself into researching Advent like a curious student determined to understand the homework before him. In my research I came across the story behind the hymn, Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus written by Charles Wesley.

Wesley, who is considered one of the greatest hymn writers of all times and said to have written 8,989 hymns in total, composed some of the most memorable hymns of the church including, Come, Though Long Expected Jesus. The hymn was based on Charles’ prayer and concern for the situation of orphans in 1744 and his intent that people remember the significance of Advent in the midst of the Christmas season. The hymn was so popular that it was reprinted almost 20 different times throughout his life. It is a prayer that begs the Lord to be among us—the prayer and cry of all of those in waiting seasons. While most hymns from the Christmas season tell parts of the Christmas story, Wesley focused on the concept of waiting and the cry of many hearts for the Lord to “come” into all of our lives. This hymn calls out to the longing in my own heart—the deepest parts of my heart and shares the hope of this season we are entering—the beautiful baby that came as Savior of the world.

If you are like me, dear friends, in a season of waiting with no exact end date, I hope that you will take heart in Jesus; our long expected Jesus, who has come and is with us.

Born thy people to Deliver,
Born a child and yet a King.
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious Kingdom being,
By Thine own Eternal Spirit
Rule in our Hearts alone,
By Thine all sufficient Merit,
Raise us to Thy Glorious Throne.

Rebecca VanDeMark is an author, speaker, and blogger who loves Jesus, life, and the miracle of hope. Rebecca is the author of the newly released book, When Light Dawns: Daily Reflections on Advent & Christmas for Lyme Warriors, and four other previous books including Praying through Lyme Disease and December Caravanwhich is a collection of short stories sharing the hope of an ever-present God. Rebecca is the founder of Grace Engaged, a ministry to high school women, and Lyme Caravan Foundation, an organization that helps Lyme disease patients and their families. Rebecca holds degrees from Cedarville University, Regent University, and American University. Before fighting health issues Rebecca worked in Washington, DC, with two non-profit organizations and later taught high school history and Bible classes for seven years. Rebecca loves celebrating the beauty of the ordinary each day as she fights Advanced Late Stage Lyme Disease in addition to other health issues. She lives with her family, splitting time between the sweet south and upstate New York. Rebecca can be found at her personal website or on her blog.