Amazing Grace: 366 Hymn Stories

December 3

Charles Wesley, 1707–1788
I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come … (Haggai 2:7 KJV)
Anticipation is a necessary and important part of every believer’s life. In Old Testament times the people anxiously awaited a Messianic Kingdom. Today we should be waiting with the same urgent expectancy as did the Israelites of old. But our anticipation is the Lord’s second advent—the piercing of the clouds and the sound of the trumpet—when victory over sin and death will be complete and final.
Not only looking, but longing the blessed Lord’s return to greet;
Our crowns of glory to gather and cast them with joy at His feet,
Not only waiting, but watching, wistfully scanning the skies;
Anticipating that daybreak when the world’s true Sun shall arise.
The Old Testament prophecies were very specific concerning our Lord’s first advent. The prophets gave the exact location of His birth (Micah 5:2) as well as the sign that He would be virgin born (Isaiah 7:14). Likewise the New Testament gives clear instructions regarding the second advent: “There shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations … and when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth near” (Luke 21:25–28 KJV).
“Come, Thou Long-expected Jesus” is another of the more than 6,500 hymns written by Charles Wesley. It was first published in 1744 in a small collection of 18 poems titled Hymns for the Nativity of Our Lord. The vibrant “Hyfrydol” tune was composed by a 20-year-old Welshman, Rowland H. Prichard, in about 1830. The tune means “good cheer.” It has been used with many of our popular hymns.
Just as Christ’s birth 2,000 years ago dramatically changed the course of human history, so will the return of our Lord as the King of kings. With the saints of the ages we pray, “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.

    For Today: Isaiah 9:6, 7; Daniel 7:13, 14; Matthew 1:22, 23; Luke 1:32–35

Rejoice in the truth that God’s eternal promises are unchangeable: Christ was born and He will return. Sing this truth as you go—

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