Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Advent Day Ten: every longing heart

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 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.

On his blog yesterday,  Tim wrote a post about when expectations aren't met.  He was discussing it in terms of how we often worry that something bad will happen which ends up not happening -- but that whether it does or does not, God is our refuge, the one we can trust when we are afraid.

His post got me thinking about the book I read (and re-re-re-read) during pregnancyWhat to Expect When You're Expecting.  The connection I made with Tim's blog entry is that many of the things I worried about regarding pregnancy, delivery, and babyhood never did happen (or were short-lived phases), and some of the things I thought would never happen actually did.  There's a lesson there ...  

But beyond that, the book title made me wonder, is there ever a time when we're not expecting?  What would that look like?  I know it's essential to live in the moment; we rob ourselves of joy if we spend all our time in the Might-Have-Been or the Maybe-Soon and fail to appreciate what is

Yet I can't imagine not expecting anything.  I can't imagine those afternoons when company we haven't seen in far too long is coming -- and not glancing out the front window every five minutes, wondering if the sound we hear is their car pulling in.  I can't imagine seeing a present under the tree with my name on it -- and not feeling that sense of eagerness to see what gift the person thought would be just right for me.  I can't imagine telling Jonathan we're going to do his favourite things today -- go and do yellow-blue-red at the playground, have Minos takeout food for supper (including "black cake") -- and him not lighting up with excitement and delight at what's to come.

So I think that, as important as it is to live in the moment, we need expectation too.  We need that time after the fireworks are set off to stand hushed and skyward-looking, waiting for the moment when the starburst blooms in the sky.  ("Oooh.  Aaah.")  Otherwise we'd turn away after the rocket shot upward, thinking, "Well, that was interesting" -- and never realize that there's so much more to it.

The same goes for our hearts:  we need something to expect.  There's more to life than just our immediate circumstances, good or bad.  Advent -- and this song, "Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus" -- reminds us that our hope, our longing, our joy are in Jesus.   He came, He is here, and He is coming.



  1. We're always expecting something - so true Jeannie. Even if we don't know what the next thing is, we still know there will be a next thing. I am so glad that ultimately the next thing will be Jesus ushering in the New Heaven and Earth. And then, there will be no end to looking forward to what he has for us from one moment in eternity to the next!


  2. Sounds like that will be the perfect combination of joyful expectation and total contentment in the moment. I can only imagine!


    1. "I Can Only Imagine" - That's one of my wife's funeral songs. She has a few picked out and they all go along with what you wrote here today, Jeannie.

      By the way, I linked this post as an addendum to yesterday piece at my place.


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