Songs of Advent – Come Thou Long Expected Jesus


MARY REICHARD, HOST: This weekend is the first Sunday of Advent. Over the next four weeks Christians around the world will prepare for—and reflect on—the coming of Christ.

Each Friday from now till Christmas, we’ll be closing our program with a hymn. Multiple selections of a particular advent hymn.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And just a quick note, we’ve created a Spotify Playlist this year. We’ll keep those updated throughout the month so you can find the music for your own enjoyment. We’ve included the link to that in today’s transcript at worldandeverything.org. 

So now for the music. Here’s our guide Bonnie Pritchett.

BONNIE PRITCHETT: The 18th century pastor Charles Wesley drew deeply from Scripture when penning his 6,500 hymns.

MUSIC: [COME THOU LONG-EXPECTED JESUS, CRAIG DUNCAN]

Like this Sunday’s lectionary readings, “Come Thou Long-expected Jesus” recalls the words from Isaiah of a sin-weary and captive Israel longing for freedom. Wesley’s text reminds the singer that God’s promised redemption is the “hope of all the earth.”

In Mark, chapter 13, believers are assured that Christ will come again. Through Wesley’s advent hymn, Christians still sing of that promise.

Here are three versions of the hymn beginning with an instrumental Celtic version by Craig Duncan.

MUSIC: [COME THOU LONG-EXPECTED JESUS, CRAIG DUNCAN]

For more than 250 years, congregations of many denominations have sung Wesley’s hymn during advent. Here is a more traditional arrangement by the Scottish Festival Singers.

MUSIC: [COME THOU LONG-EXPECTED JESUS, SCOTTISH FESTIVAL SINGERS]

Come Thou Long Expected Jesus was originally written as four short verses, but most hymnals have combined them into two longer ones. In 1978, Mark Hunt penned two additional verses. 

MUSIC: [COME THOU LONG-EXPECTED JESUS, JILL PHILLIPS ]

Jill Phillips features one of those stanzas in her 2016 recording of the hymn: a reflection on Christ’s willingness to humble himself in order to redeem us.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Bonnie Pritchett.


(Photo/iStock)

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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