BY COURTNEY VANDERFORD
Do you have a longing heart?
One of my favorite Christmas songs is the hymn, "Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus." I love the beautiful picture of hope it proclaims. One of my favorite lines comes at the end of the first verse, declaring that Jesus is the "joy of every longing heart."
You don't have to look very far to find a longing heart. You probably only have to look as far as the mirror.
We're all longing for something: longing for a break from the brokenness of the world, longing for life to just feel a little less lonely, longing for normalcy, longing for happiness. Or any number of other things. We are weary. We are longing. Aren't we?
The claim that the hymn makes of Jesus is not small any way you look at it. The joy of every longing heart. Who could ever fill such a role? Who dares to take on such a claim?
The first chapter in Colossians answers these questions so well for us. Verses 15-17 tell us, "He" – Jesus! - "is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together."
Only this Jesus, who perfectly bears these titles given in Colossians 1, can be the joy of our longing hearts.
And the best news? This Jesus came here, to be near to us! The next verse in that passage from Colossians 1 says, "For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell." And he came to dwell with us!
All of our longings, big or small, find ultimate fulfillment in the redemptive work of Jesus.
All of our longings, big or small, find ultimate fulfillment in the redemptive work of Jesus. Jesus, who came as a baby to live a real life like yours and mine, but remaining 100 percent God.
Jesus satisfies our longings by satisfying the wrath of God, dying a real death for our sins, that we may live. He came to bring the truest restoration to our lives destroyed by sin.
And this Jesus who was once long expected is expected once more, to finally bring perfect restoration, to make all things new. Let us rejoice in our longing! For there is full joy in the One who came near to us.
The joy of every longing heart.