Christmas Songs #2: Come, thou long-expected Jesus

Our second song is Come, thou long-expected Jesus. As we said yesterday, the Old Testament was full of hope for a coming Savior and Kingdom that would somehow be greater than what was known in the time of King David and other kings of Israel. They didn’t know at the time that it would be a kingdom of personal salvation rather than national victory. A new “nation” would be built that would span all nations.

This song also captures the Old Testament flavor by referring to a lot of Old Testament promises, such as Isaiah 11. If you want to see how some Old Testament believers were waiting for a Savior, read the stories of Simeon and Anna in Luke 2.25-38.

Most people may not think of this as a Christmas song. It’s not in any of the Christmas songbooks that I have. But it is what they call an Advent song: a song that meditates on how much we need a Savior and how marvelous it was in human history that a Savior did come. He changed everything. Even the years are numbered in reference to his coming.

Charles Wesley, the author, certainly thought of it as a Christmas hymn. It first appeared in his book, Hymns for the Nativity of our Lord.

(To hear the song, click the link or paste into your browser. Finally, where it says “Don’t have a Rhapsody account?”, push “Play Now.”)

Lyrics (

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.

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