“Come Thou Long Expected Jesus” is a hymn that centers around expectation. What comes to mind when you think of the word “expectation?” Perhaps the fantastic time you’re planning to have on your long-anticipated summer vacation to Hawaii. Maybe you think of how fulfilling and easy your new marriage is going to be. Perhaps it speaks to the incredible (or horrible) time you’re going to have with your friends, family, or maybe even enemies this Christmas! Expectations are nothing more than measured hopes. Our expectations define what we believe will be the outcome of any given situation or circumstance. Our expectations can frequently lead us to disappointment because we seldom factor in that we live in a sinful world where good things can come apart at the seams within the blink of an eye.
“…we seldom factor in that we live in a sinful world where good things can come apart at the seams within the blink of an eye.”
On one fateful night 2000 years ago, in the middle of nowhere, the answer to all of humanity’s expectations, hopes, dreams, and desires was delivered in an unassuming package. A baby. Human. Frail. The same as us, yet so profoundly different. Jesus. On that first Christmas, He was the realization of thousands of years of expectation. From Adam and Eve onward, from generation to generation, thousands of people lived in expectation toward God. They believed by faith that God would bring forth His promised salvation and hope to a fallen and wayward world. And one night in Bethlehem, with a yelp from a womb, God broke the prophetic silence. With God’s plan unfurling before humanity’s eyes, the long-awaited, long expected Messiah finally arrived. The hope of Satan’s defeat, the reversal of sin’s curse, and the restoration of all good things was sleeping in a manger, wrapped in real-life in flesh and blood.
This is the reality that was pulsing through the worshipful mind of Charles Wesley when he penned these famous words in 1744. In every scripture-immersed stanza, Wesley wanted to show that Jesus is the answer to the expectations of mankind. When Jesus came to earth, He fulfilled the expectations of every person that had ever waited for God’s salvation to appear for His people. Today, every person who meets Jesus will quickly discover that He is the fulfillment of everything their soul desires. Like “Joy to the World,” this hymn focused not merely on Christ’s first coming to take the throne in men’s hearts, but also on His second coming when He will assume His throne over every earthly ruler and authority. When He comes again, He will meet the hopeful expectation of all of those who currently wait for Him.
“Today, every person who meets Jesus will quickly discover that He is the fulfillment of everything their soul desires.”
As we look back in time, we see that God kept His prophetic promise to send Jesus, His son, into the world. This gives us the confident expectation that He will also fulfill His promise to one day return. Our patient waiting will by no means disappoint us! Until that day comes, may we surrender with expectant hearts as we sing the words,
“By thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to thy glorious throne.”