“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.”
Has there been a more appropriate time for Advent than 2020? Have you ever felt that we needed a time of Hope, Peace, Love and Joy more than this moment in our personal histories? The above quote is from the very first hymn from the 1990 Presbyterian Hymnal, “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus.” I thought the lyrics of this hymn very fitting for our current cultural climate.
Election results, lawsuits, recounts, rising pandemic numbers, divisiveness, anger, isolation and a very different Thanksgiving than we have come to know have us all crying out for Hope to come quick! Peace, come quick! Joy, come soon! Love, get here ASAP! I do not recall a time when an entire world seemed so ready for some Good News!
And, that is what we celebrate this Advent season. Christmas may not be here yet. But, the season of Advent is upon us TODAY! During Advent we celebrate the knowledge that Jesus Christ IS coming. Christmas Day IS coming! Hope, Peace, Joy and Love ARE COMING! That alone is reason to celebrate.
Jesus was born to set people free, as the hymn states. Born to set people free from FEAR as well as sin. Fear seems to have gripped the entire world. But, this season, we celebrate that Jesus came into the world to release us from our fears. We don’t have to be afraid of an unknown future. Because Jesus came to us. Because God incarnate came to us. We can find our rest in God, because we know that Jesus is coming.
And, Jesus is coming in not some far distant, end of the world, sense. Jesus came to us as an infant. Jesus came to set us free from sin and death. Jesus came to us as one of us. Jesus came to us so we could come to him and find our rest. And, that rest is a rest free from fear, hatred, suspicion, or despair. The rest we have in Christ Jesus is one of Hope, Peace, Joy and Love!
This Advent Season, may the fear that grips the world dissipate. May we all be set free. May we find hope that this pandemic will one day be over, that a vaccine will arrive. May we all find peace and begin to be unified as a people once again. May we all find joy and laughter in each others company. May we all find, express and experience love between neighbors, within ourselves, and around the world.
Come, thou long expected Jesus!
Merry Christmas to you all!