Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus

I really should be checking schoolwork right now, but I'm sneaking onto my computer for just a few minutes.

The first week of December is always, always, always the busiest. I've just returned from my third Christmas party in as many days. I enjoy parties as much as the next gal, but a part of me wants to sit in my living room when it's dark with a warm cup of tea and just bask in the lights of my Christmas tree.

If I could, I would do that morning and evening, every day of Advent. (And, honestly, I'm trying to figure out a way to keep my lighted tree up until the end of February. I think it would help my attitude in the dead of winter. But then it wouldn't be so special in December. You see my dilemma.)

You can see by my pictures we tend to be kid-centric around the holidays. I've always wanted nativity sets, and I've ended up with three. I could never justify the expense of a beautiful, adult nativity with four young children dying to put their hands all over the figurines. I could, however, justify buying nativities on which they could lay their hands.

Once the tree is up and decorated, the next thing my children look for are the nativities. They've been spending quite a lot of time in the living room, under the Christmas tree, playing with these sets, even though they are past the can-I-fit-baby-Jesus-in-my-mouth stage. (OK, way past that particular stage.)

And every evening, we eat by candlelight, read a short devotional and chose our favorite Christmas songs to sing. And we sing every, single, solitary verse. Even in The First Noel, which has about 500. Well, perhaps I'm exaggerating, but just a little bit.

This week, I got to chose my favorite:

O Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus (#168 in our old church hymnal)
Charles Wesley

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.

Enjoy other poetry here.
(And one day, I will get an official, grown-up, adult nativity. Promise.)


Beth said...

I love your child friendly Nativity sets. When I was experiencing our inability to conceive, my mother, in an attempt to make me happier, bought me an entire Willow Tree Nativity set, which I adore, especially because there are no features in the faces. I have been thinking I do need something that the kids can play with however and in my more idealistic moments think we could make something.
I love that you are eating by candlelight and singing Christmas hymns. Since the hymns I grew up with are not as common within the Orthodox Church, I have decided to try and teach my children the classic Christmas hymns and began today with Silent Night as our closing breakfast prayer.

And yes, wouldn't it be great to keep the tree up? Maybe just the lights. I always need a little boost in those bleak winter months.

Molly Sabourin said...

Hi Michelle,

I haven't heard that pretty hymn in a long while. I sang it while I read it - thanks for posting it here!

I think your advent tradition of eating by candlight and ending the meal with a devotional and Christmas carol (including all 500 veres : ) ) is so, so lovely! I know your children will remember that fondly when they are older.

Enjoy your tea and lit Christmas tree!



Beth Hanna said...

What's wrong with leaving your tree up till February? I can't think of one reason not to! Thanks for a beautiful poem/hymn - a good reminder to keep Jesus in the center of Christmas!

Beth Hanna said...

BTW, here in Mexico they sell pewter nativity scenes! Unbreakable! I bought a set for each of my children and their families! Come on down and get you one!

Kris Livovich said...

The pewter sets are beautiful, if a bit hard on the toes. Love this hymn. From my mother I inherited a thing for singing all the verses. Makes me a little crazy in church when we sing the first three - that last verse is important too! Also, "O Come, O Come Emanuel" has 500 verses.

Michelle said...

@ Beth H & Kris: I'm all about those pewter nativities! Wish I could plan a trip to Mexico to get one. :)