In the Fall of 2014, I came across an old Advent hymn called “O Son of God, We Wait for Thee” written by Philip F. Hiller (1699-1769). The song seemed to capture the essence of Advent and the second coming of Jesus, and I found the lyrics deeply moving. Immediately, I wanted to find a way to bring this song to life for our generation. At that point, my mind was focused on other things, and I tucked away the lyrics to revisit in the coming year.
The season of Advent is a very meaningful one for our church. Advent simply means the arrival of a notable person, and during the four weeks leading up to Christmas we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ in an intentional way. There is longing and anticipation. Expectation and tension. Much like the Israelites felt as they waited for The Messiah in his first coming, we now wait with expectant hearts for Christ to return again and make all things new. We celebrate Christmas as both the arrival of our true King to this world, and the hopeful looking-forward to his second coming.
In September of this year, I pulled the lyrics back out and started working through them. Since we only have four Sundays to celebrate Advent, I knew reusing a familiar melody would allow our people to recognize and engage with the song quickly. The first section of each verse lined up almost perfectly with the melody from “O Tannenbaum” (O Christmas Tree). I figured we may as well sing about Jesus instead of a tree, and the updated version was born! To emphasize the purpose of Advent, I added a short refrain after each verse – “O Son of God, We Wait for Thee. We Long For Thine Appearing!”
Over the past several years we have seen the modern church embrace the calendar of the historic church in a meaningful way, with a noticeable emphasis on the season of Advent. Many families now celebrate Advent both with their churches and in their homes, and it is a special time for them to exalt and worship Jesus throughout the month of December. Jessa and I experience deep joy seeing our kids’ excitement over lighting Advent candles and singing songs together about Christ’s coming. We sing “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” or “Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus” each night, and I wrote this new song with our own children and traditions in mind. My prayer is that you and your family will benefit from this recognizable melody and use these lyrics to exalt Jesus in your home in the coming weeks. We are giving away this song for free in the hope that it will become part of a treasured Advent tradition for you and your communities. Merry Christmas from our family to yours!
The hope of man is Christ, The Word!
“There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear…In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples—of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious.” (Isaiah 11:1–4; 9-10 ESV)
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