Advent Series: Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus


By Jess Dager

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.

If I’m honest, the tune we are humming around here is …

Come, Thou long expected college…

Our oldest is a junior in high school and we are knee deep in ACT prep courses, college visits, and spreadsheets. To keep with our Advent theme, I literally feel like a wiseman following a star that leads to the right college situation. 

As I was praying one morning, the Holy Spirit deeply challenged my heart. It became clear that I have oriented our lives around a life-altering mission that isn’t about Jesus and His coming, but about college and it’s coming. 

Charles Wesley wrote this hymn in response to the evil practice of slavery. He was overwhelmed by the raw savagery that the economic machine of greed had created in Americans engaged in imprisoning and exploiting slaves. He was mortified by the suffering he saw in the lives of the slaves themselves.

He penned this hymn as a cry to the Lord for all people to be freed from their bonds and to find rest in Jesus. In a small way, I too found myself in bondage, swept up in the ways and means of this current age, locked into an economy of abundance that is false. 

It happens so easily, doesn’t it? The world presses in, and while we may reject the more obvious displays of evil and false kingdoms, the subtler ones can grab hold.

“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10

Jesus is the source of abundant life, not college degrees. 

“But seek first His kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33

Seeking His kingdom first is the path to provision and rest. 

The security, abundance, and sense of deep purpose and joy that I desire for myself and my children can only come from Jesus - not scholarships, or plentiful meal-plans. It’s actually not even something I can secure for them, although my striving in this area shows I desperately wish I could. Only Jesus can do this.

This was a very timely reminder for me. Is there anything in your heart that is replacing your anticipation of Jesus this season; anything else you are waiting on and preparing for with misplaced energy? 

Let the words of this beautiful Christmas hymn remind you what our hearts are really longing for and waiting for - Jesus.

“Let us find our rest in Thee.”
"Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus"
Words: Charles Wesley
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.

 Jess Dager and her husband Ben have been on collegiate staff for 14 years and currently serve at the University of Illinois. They have 3 kiddos ages 16, 15, and 13. Jess enjoys reading, singing, and laughter. Her favorite part of working with students is watching God at work in their lives.

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