Before the angels sang to announce to birth of the King Jesus, there were four hundred years of silence. The nation of Israel was no stranger to waiting, to looking, to longing for God to make the broken pieces whole. They had heard from the prophet Malachai that a Messiah would come. And then their history of God speaking was punctuated with four hundred years of silence.
In the season of Advent, the time in the calendar when the church prepares her heart to celebrate Christmas, the people of God wait again for the coming Messiah. But it’s different this time. He has come, and he is coming again. There is not only silence. There is also song.
One song we will sing at City Church this Sunday starts like this, “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." After we sing this in the music hall of the House of Blues, when the song ends and the room becomes silent, we will wait in silence. But not without joy, for the next song is coming.
In our lives we wait in silence to see how the Lord will make the broken whole. And our silence is an act of faith, an act of faith that bubbles up in our bodies and moves our mouths to sing. In the interim between his coming once and his coming again, we wait. And we sing.
The paradox of Advent is there is room for both silence and singing here, but we were not made to do this alone. Join us in repeating the story told in the singing. We invite you to come, thou long expectant people, born to find rest in the one who sets us free.
Celebrate Advent at City Church.
Father, I have a deep longing to be set free, to experience a soul at rest, to feel a child’s joy on Christmas morning. Jesus, this is why you came, yet I struggle to trust you for the deliverance I long for. I doubt that submitting to your rule will result in the rest you promise. And what troubles me the most is that my troubles don’t feel light and momentary; they feel heavy, like they could go on forever. How am I to find joy in them? Holy Spirit, I beg you to inhabit the deepest and darkest places within me. Set me free. Help me rest. Give me joy. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Come Thou Long Expected Jesus 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.