- 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.
This hymn by Charles Wesley expresses the hopeful longing of the Advent and Christmas seasons. We know that Christ was born, lived, died and was resurrected. We know that Immanuel, ‘God with us’, is with us – goes before us, and is at our side, even now. Yet still we long for the day when God’s kingdom is fully realized. Our hearts are touched by the poverty and injustices we see in the world and cry, “thy gracious kingdom bring!” – the day when all things will be reconciled, made new. In a world that often seems full of pain and darkness, the hope and the longing sit, almost paradoxically, side by side with the joy of this time of celebration.
During this time of Advent and Christmas, our JustUs prayer is that you would be able to hold the joy of your longing heart well. In the midst of family and friends, busy-ness and stress, pain and brokenness, that you would seek ‘God with us’, God in human form, flesh and blood, who’s birth we are celebrating. We pray also that in the midst of longing, you can be hopefully expectant, joyful even, of the reconciled kingdom that God is ushering in and that we are part of even now. May you see glimpses of that coming kingdom in celebrations, the faces of family and friends, and the delight of good food. And for those that are able to see glimpses of the kingdom, may we also bear this longing and hope with and alongside those for whom this season is difficult.We know that Immanuel, ‘God with us’, is with us Click To Tweet
“We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you.”
– Psalm 33:20-22
“I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.”
– Psalm 130:5-6