“Come, though 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.”
Christmas, for me, is a mixture of joy and pathos. It reminds me of the fact that we are living in between Jesus’ first and second coming. The joy springs from the hope that it evokes as we celebrate His first coming and being assured of His second coming. But it also evokes some sadness as we see this “weary world” struggling with the effects of sin until He returns.
Charles Wesley wrote this great, Advent hymn that stirs a longing in us to see people experience freedom from the destructive effects of sin, beginning in this world, and completed in the next. As Methodists, we believe that everyone can be saved, everyone can know they are saved, and everyone can live free from the power of sin. That does not mean we can’t sin, in fact at times we do sin, but the normal Christian life is that we are not given to sin – by the power of the Spirit-filled life, we “walk in the light as He is in the light” (1 Jn. 1:7). If we fall we are quick to confess our sin, claim the cleansing power of the blood of Jesus (1 Jn. 1:8), and continue to “walk as Jesus did” (1 Jn. 2:6).
This hymn is a prayer that we can all pray in the midst of our celebrations. We can call upon the Lord to bring about the consummation of the ages with His return because the gospel has been preached throughout the whole world and because His Bride has been prepared for His return by becoming holy and without spot, living like Jesus, to His glory and pleasure (Eph. 5:26, 27). “Maranatha/ Lord come!” (Re. 22:20).