Waiting has become a lost art with the immediacy of technology at our very fingertips. How often we are impatient when accessing takes a few seconds more than usual and if it’s minutes we are undone, even saying “come on” with impatience. We expect immediacy! So the backdrop of Advent is exactly this lost ability of waiting and expecting and is reflected in one of my favorite hymns of the season: Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus. It’s one of 18 hymns Charles Wesley wrote for Christmas—not of a manger scene, but prophecy.
This hymn contains a word that has been a part of life for centuries and is present even today: fear. But the longing of the hymn is for freedom and release, for hope and joy. Phrase upon phrase reminds us of the promises of the prophets and moves us to celebrate anew the fulfillment of them. I find the words to be huge and global and all-encompassing: words like “every nation” and “all the earth,” yet I am in awe that my Lord is personal to me while present everywhere and to all.
When the Gospel narratives open, God’s people have waited in silence for centuries. Surely they must have lived the thought ‘come on’ and experienced the hope of these lyrics within their fear, their captivity, and their longing. So we wait and remember their waiting, living in great expectation of the glory.
About the Contributor
Deborah Lemke is a retired Christian educator who joined FPC in June. She enjoys all that FPC has going on.