Come Thou Long Expected Jesus

 

We do it once a year. Decorations go up. Trees are sold. Families gather. Schools close. Carols are sung. Gifts are given. Christmas is a season that sparks great joy. Each person, each group may celebrate the season for different reasons, but our Hebraic-Christian view of Christmas looks in two directions.

Initially, we look back at all the First Testament prophets who looked ahead. Hundreds of prophecies anticipating a prophet, a priest, a king, a messiah, a savior, were all fulfilled at Jesus’ birth. Additionally, we look ahead with the First and Second Testament prophets and apostles to the promise of a renovated world; a world where suffering and sin will cease, a world where Jesus rules eternally.

Both the history and the hope of Jesus’ first and second arrivals is well summarized by Charles Wesley’s hymn “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus.” I believe the hymn expresses our earnest hope based on the facts of history: the surety of Jesus and His soon return.

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.

At the Comenius Institute, we believe in both history and hope, in Jesus’ first and second arrivals to earth. All the decorations, presents, meals, singing, and gifts during Christmas look back to Jesus’ first coming while we anticipate His coming again. For all of us at the Comenius Institute, I am Dr. Mark Eckel, personally wishing everyone a joyous Christmas.

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  1. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    Blessed Advent. This is the season we are in, where we prepare for the second coming of Christ.

    • #1
  2. Mark Eckel Coolidge
    Mark Eckel
    @MarkEckel

    Scott Wilmot (View Comment):

    Blessed Advent. This is the season we are in, where we prepare for the second coming of Christ.

    Amen.

    • #2
  3. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    O come o come Emmanuel hits the theme on the head, too.

    • #3
  4. Mark Eckel Coolidge
    Mark Eckel
    @MarkEckel

    Stina (View Comment):

    O come o come Emmanuel hits the theme on the head, too.

    Yes. Indeed. Maranatha.

    • #4
  5. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    @markeckel that was lovely! Thank you for posting it. @cm, here is a favorite version of the song you mentioned:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdR79P-2ewo

     

    • #5
  6. Mark Eckel Coolidge
    Mark Eckel
    @MarkEckel

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    @ markeckel that was lovely! Thank you for posting it. @ cm, here is a favorite version of the song you mentioned:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdR79P-2ewo

     

    Gratitude for your good word! Blessings on The Holiday!

    • #6
  7. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Mark Eckel: Initially, we look back at all the First Testament prophets who looked ahead. Hundreds of prophecies anticipating a prophet, a priest, a king, a messiah, a savior, were all fulfilled at Jesus’ birth. Additionally, we look ahead with the First and Second Testament prophets and apostles to the promise of a renovated world; a world where suffering and sin will cease, a world where Jesus rules eternally.

    In one of the Great Courses (I believe Bart Ehrman), the instructor quotes a saying:

    “The Old Testament is Christ concealed, the New Testament is Christ revealed.”

    • #7
  8. Hans Gruber Pfizer President Coolidge
    Hans Gruber Pfizer President
    @Pseudodionysius

    • #8
  9. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    Christ’s birth points to the hidden glory of all Creation awaiting transfiguration by purity. What is humanity that the Creator of all things chooses to take on this nature, even in infancy? Who are we to be called brothers and sisters of our Creator? Yet who are we to deny His gift? 

    Through adoration and amazement of this gift, adopted family of God, the repentant spirit of Advent springs forth in want of justice. We who cannot be spotless lambs yet desire to be because our baby Brother shows the perfection of our nature. He is the promise of all things made new, yet loved in lowliness. 

    God made a world of seeds to become forests, raindrops to become oceans, and babes to become fellow authors of the kingdom. Small signs point to glories beyond measure — none so much as the dependent child of God. 

    Rely on the Father, as Jesus relied on Mary.

    Notice the ravens: they do not sow or reap; they have neither storehouse nor barn, yet God feeds them. How much more important are you than birds! [….]

    Notice how the flowers grow. They do not toil or spin. But I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of them.

    If God so clothes the grass in the field that grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith? [….] 

    Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom. —Luke 12

    • #9