1 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.
2 Israel’s strength and consolation,
hope of all the earth thou art:
dear desire of every nation,
joy of every longing heart.
3 Born thy people to deliver,
born a child and yet a king,
born to reign in us forever,
now thy gracious kingdom bring.
4 By thine own eternal Spirit
rule in all our hearts alone;
by thine all-sufficient merit
raise us to thy glorious throne.
The double nature of Advent is reflected in this text, in which we remember Christ's first coming even while praying for his return. Stanzas 1 and 2 recall Advent prophecies in the Old Testament; stanza 3 speaks of Christ's birth and kingdom, and stanza 4 is a prayer for Christ's rule in our hearts.
The phrase “long-expected” and “the Savior promised long” are descriptors of Jesus and are familiar terms to many Christians. These words speak of generations who waited while centuries passed. Our World Belongs to God, paragraph 23 also uses such terminology in calling him the “long-awaited Messiah.” And Belgic Confession, Article 18 professes that this all happened only “at the time appointed.”