Music of Advent: Sara Groves


MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: Today is Friday, December 13th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Megan Basham.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. The four weeks leading to Christmas, known as the season of Advent, can be marked by preparation, meditation, fasting and longing.

Today, we’re ending our program with a song that captures another hallmark of the season: joy. Singer Sara Groves talks with Myrna Brown about her arrangement of a well loved Advent hymn. 

SARA GROVES: I was really drawn to this song because it’s this invitation. You have the collective kind of groan of mankind. We have all of this brokenness and spaces around us. And there’s a longing, come, would you come.

SONG: Come thou long expected Jesus. Born to set Thy people free. 

MYRNA BROWN, REPORTER: John Wesley’s “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus” reflects the dual aspects of Advent: Christ’s first coming and the anticipation of his second. Sara Groves’ rendition of the classic hymn draws from both. 

SARA: I think Jesus is born into a day that is much like our own. He comes in a very chaotic time. Our longings are real and they’re rooted in real issues and real dynamics and real trouble that we face in the world. And then the joy is real because we have cause to have hope. 

Author, Peter Mead writes, “At the centre of heaven is Christ, lovingly adored as the forever Lord of all. At the centre of Christmas is Christ, frail and cradled in the tender arms of a young mother. How can the two be put together? Heavenly glory and human frailty? That is the real wonder of Christmas.

SARA: That’s what I love about the whole hymn. It speaks to the limit and the realities of the heaviness that we carry and then it speaks to our call for joy.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Myrna Brown.


(Photo/Sara Groves)

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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One comment on “Music of Advent: Sara Groves

  1. Robynn Morrison says:

    Pretty sure that beautiful hymn was written by Charles Wesley, not his brother John.

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