"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."
One of my favorite hymns at Advent is the one above: Come Thou Long Expected Jesus. Hymns are magnificent works of literature. In today's contemporary Christian music (which I do enjoy!), I fear that we miss the theological impact that only a hymn can offer. Two short stanzas speak volumes about the significance of Advent, instructing our hearts to prepare for Christ's birth. Hymns teach! Hymns preach. Hymns inspire. Hymns challenge. Hymns remind. Hymn books lie unopened in many a pew in many a church, and I consider the implications of overlooking such a richly profound theological kergyma (the greek word for "teach").
Hymns are a wonderful way to engage one's heart, mind and soul in the study of God--that which we are called to do everyday. Are we studying God? Are we seeking after Him who promised to be there when we do seek Him? Hymns are a wonderful way to seek and find the Lord. Hymns teach us and instruct us, reminding us of what we believe and why we believe. So, pull out that dusty hymnbook from the pew, and take a peek, you might be surprised at what you find there!
So hymn anyone?