Come is a word we mothers use often. Can you hear yourself saying it or maybe you remember hearing it shouted at you?
Directed at our recalcitrant children, or repeated in short bursts sandwiched with a whistle out the back door toward the dog, I expected results when I called this four-letter word with an impatient or urgent tone of voice. Exhausted from mothering, obedience was the response I expected at the clipped sound of this demand.
But there is another meaning we’ve been focusing on this month as we wait for Christmas to come. Softer and gentler when spoken: an invitation, a prayer springing from our hearts’ desire, sent to our Father in Heaven, or in song as words of longing in stanzas four and five from this familiar hymn “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”:
Come desire of nations come, fix in us Thy humble home.
Jesus came softly as a gentle babe. His come … spoken to us … to believe … in His name … that believing we might have life … that we might become children of God … is His earnest invitation every Christmas. Every day.
Be believing, He said.
What a wonder … this Gift. Jesus our Emmanuel.
He who knows our deepest need—the desire of every tiny human heart … the desire of every powerful populated nation—to belong. Clans and tribes the world over, assemble, gather for the same longing:
to be chosen,
to be loved,
to be known.
He calls us to come and when we do we experience the fulfillment of those universal desires.
Yes the good news was delivered to us in Bethlehem wrapped in soft newborn flesh, but we still remain a universe full of people watching, waiting, hoping for the final fulfillment of all that was promised ages ago: the Second Advent.
While we ache with longing for that day soon to come, we can rejoice greatly that He has made His humble home in us! The smelly stall of the manger, formed of rough wood or cold, hollowed stone, was appropriate preparation for His dwelling in rough, broken, and sometimes stone-cold hearts.
That He would condescend to make His home in me is simply stunning.
I know my heart has been made new, that He has replaced my heart of stone with a heart of flesh. but until His return when all things will be made right, I continually need His gentle touch, His invitation to come, lest my heart harden in resistance to His continual call to forgive, love, serve, and suffer for His sake.
It is good that we feel deep unfulfilled longings.
These are signs to us that this earth is not our home. As we hope for restoration, ache over losses that cannot be reversed, our coming to Jesus the babe, Jesus the King keeps our souls planted, growing deep roots into the rich soil of our heavenly home.
But today. Now in this moment, we must rejoice with great gladness. For He has come to us to satisfy our longing hearts with His forever presence, His promise to never leave, and His guarantee of future mansions in His Father’s house.
Remember with joy His first coming for us, His death for us, and His willingness to live within our hearts the very moment we ask Him to enter.
What a wonder!
His first advent is worth celebrating with the fullness of our energy and focus. I don’t want to ever lose the wonder. Indeed I want to grow in wonder, adoration, stunned amazement that He would come—for me!
Celebrate Him well this year. With unending appreciation make much of all He has done for you. Then, in turn, we will be more attuned to await His second advent with eagerness, listening intently just as He asked us to do.
For more on “longing” read my friend Janel’s post from last week.