Tuesday December 1, 2020
For our Advent devotionals we are looking deeper at some of our favorite carols.
Today’s Scripture: Matthew 11:3
“Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?”
Today’s Carol: Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus
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 ev’ry nation, Joy of ev’ry 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.
The first line of this carol has always seemed mean to me. It’s like the author (Charles Wesley) was chastising Jesus. “Where have you been Jesus? We’ve been expecting you for WAY too long! In fact, we’re just going to call you “long-expected” Jesus. Can’t you just get here already?”
I get the feeling that if Jesus does not come soon Charles is going to just give up.
But when I think about, I understand what he was writing here. There are some days (many days?) when I get completely down about the state of the world. If I allow myself, I can get overwhelmed with how we are not seeing the Kingdom of God actualized in our world. The poverty and hunger, the injustice, the placing of profits over people, the hatred we see in our fellow humans. It can make one shake their fist at that “long-expected” Jesus.
But here’s my thinking on that: it’s ok to be frustrated at the delay of the kingdom. It’s ok to be angry over the fact that the kingdom is not yet here. We have been long-expecting it. And yes, it can seem very far away.
However, Advent reminds us of the “here – but not yet here” aspect of the kingdom. Jesus has arrived already. AND, we are waiting on Jesus. The plan has come to fruition, and yet the plan is not yet realized. Advent is the time of the year that we feel this paradox most intently.
So what do we do? We sing carols about the long-expected Jesus. And we watch and we wait. But we wait with hope. Jesus is coming.
God it seems sometimes as if Jesus will never arrive. Help us to see the ways that the kingdom is already here. And help us to be active in our waiting – to bring about the kingdom in our own little part of the world even this day.