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.
The opening words of the first reading for the First Sunday of Advent are a prayer asking God to "tear open the heavens and come down." So it is fitting that we complete this week's study and preparation with this prayer, "Come, thou long-expected Jesus." It is a prayer of faith, asking that Christ would come with everything needed for life: freedom and release from fears and sins, rest, strength, consolation, hope and joy. We have attempted to find these things on our own, in our wealth, our relationships and our professional success. But they come only from outside of us, from God's love shown to us in Christ.
Pastor and theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, arrested by the Nazis in 1943 and hanged at the Buchenwald concentration camp in April of 1945 wrote, "A prison cell, in which one waits, hopes and is completely dependent on the fact that the door of freedom has to be opened from the outside, is not a bad picture of Advent." In Christ, God opens that door and we are saved.
Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly. Come into our hearts and lives, forming us into signs of your love for this hurting, precious world. Amen.