Favourite Christmas Song

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My Favorite Christmas Song

One of the great things about Christmas is the music. And if you are struggling to warm up to the season, the familiar tunes of Christmas are a surefire way of getting you in the festive mood. There are so many great Christmas carols that it is a shame we only sing them one month of the year.

One of my favorite carols is the lyric penned in 1744 by Charles Wesley, Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus. This carol has been at the top of my playlist this Christmas season.  

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.

Charles Wesley, pub.1745

For many, this carol signals the beginning of Advent – the season of prayerful anticipation that begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas. Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus, was first published in 1744 in Charles Wesley’s Hymns for the Nativity of Our Lord. The lyric is so rich in meaning and resonates deeply with so many because it has the quality of a prayer – a prayer for Christ to come; for Christ to be among us.

Notice the petitions in this song:

  • “Come, thou long-expected Jesus”.
  • “From our fears and sins release us”.
  • “Let us find our rest in thee”.
  • “Now thy gracious kingdom bring”.
  • “Rule in all our hearts alone”.
  • “Raise us to thy glorious throne”.

While Wesley has entered into the deep ancient longing of Israel for the Messiah, our experience is not far removed – different time, same longings. Like ancient Israel, we too long for Christ to be our strength and consolation; our hope and joy.  

The gospel writer Matthew indicates Jesus’ role as bringing God’s presence to humanity. “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us) (Matthew 1:23). Jesus was himself ‘God with us’, and by faith in His saving work, we have the confident assurance of His continuing presence. Yet, while we know that Christ IS with us, still we pray for him to come to us. We ground our prayers in the instruction of Jesus who invites us to ask…seek…and knock (Luke 11:5-13). In the midst of our daily needs, we draw from His ongoing supply through prayer.    

Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus reflects the cry of our hearts to know Him better and to experience the reality of His presence and the hope of His coming again. 

Every time I listen to or sing this Christmas prayer-carol, I find myself lost in the story of Christmas; the story of the gospel. And in such a profound way, this carol points you and me to Jesus. 

By Thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.

The scripture says that “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). His merit, not mine is the basis of my salvation. His merit was and is all-sufficient – that means Christ’s work is enough; it is entirely adequate and of sufficient quality to save us to the uttermost.  

Christ was not guilty, and could not be made guilty, but He was treated as if He were guilty because He willed to stand in the place of the guilty. Yea, He was not only treated as a sinner, but He was treated as if He had been sin itself in the abstract. This is an amazing utterance. The sinless one was made to be sin.

C.H. Spurgeon

Kevin DeYoung writes, “At the very heart of the gospel is the realization that I’m powerless to get even the smallest stain of sin out of my life.” But, Christ’s all-sufficient merit saves completely and one day, by His all-sufficient merit, we will be raised to glory forevermore. In the meantime, we wait, we pray, we trust and take joy in the God of our salvation. 

Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus! 

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