Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus

This Advent song comes from the marriage of two separate revival movements, one English and the other Welsh. Charles Wesley penned the words in the eighteenth century and Rowland Pritchard’s tune, HYFERDOL, was written and married to the words in the nineteenth century, and that tune remains to this day most closely associated with these words, though it has found good use with other hymn texts as well.

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.

Here is a brief excerpt of the sadly OOP rendition of “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus” by John Darnell. (You can probably find a used copy of Winterlude — Instrumentals for a Contemplative Christmas available at, though.)

Click here for standalone player

Boring “insider music talk” from last year’s post about this hymn below the fold. 🙂

Those of y’all who find Christmas as amazing as I do might consider contributing to the Carnival of Christmas and becoming a part of the Christmas Alliance. From Kat at Cathouse Chat,

…the Carnival of Christmas will be hosted at CatHouse Chat this year. I am asking that all my blog family participate (pretty please!) by sending in one (or more) posts celebrating the holiday season. Photos, recipes, poems, essays, meditations, family traditions, Christmas/Hanukkah (sp?) thoughts – ANYTHING which reflects the season in a good and wholesome spirit will be welcome and posted.

I am planning to close submissions on 23 Dec 2007, a Sunday, and post the Carnival sometime on Christmas Eve Day. You may submit your post(s) to the Carnival of Christmas page at BlogCarnival , or send me entries directly [ask me in comments for her email address–twc] AND PUT “Carnival of Christmas” in the subject line (***PLEASE!!!*** that’s how I’m going to make certain it gets into the correct folder; I don’t want to miss anyone). If you see an entry on another blog which doesn’t know about the Carnival that would be perfect, make sure you send it on in and let the author know!

In the same email, Kat thoughtfully provided the following info about the Christmas Alliance:

Secondly, as a very important FYI, the Random Yak has the Christmas Alliance 2007 Page up and running. Please make sure you check that page out frequently as he updates and adds posts – and make sure you link and TB Christmas posts to him as well. To join the Christmas Alliance, all you need to do is e-mail him [again, ask me in comments for a contact e–twc] and request to be added – and then post your heart out about Christmas!

Finally, let me strongly stress the requirements for participating in the Carnival of Christmas and the Christmas Alliance: posts linked to/submitted to these two blactivities MUST “treat Christmas in a positive light” whether they be “[r]eligious, secular, serious or silly”*–they MUST deal with Chritmas positively. (There: repetitiously redundant enough to be effective? Hope so. :-))

And again (“what I say three times… ” *heh*), as Kat said in her e-,

…PLEASE REMEMBER TO STRESS “celebration of the season” “appropriate” and “positive” so that everyone is clear on the requirements

The best thing about the arrangement/performance of “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus” linked to above is Darnell’s treatment of a tempo that is very nearly at odds with the tempo demanded by the tune, Hyferdol. I’ve heard this piece sung/directed at truly funereal tempos, and it’s so painful I’ve actually left the room when it’s happened. But while Darnell plays the piece at a nominal tempo of 110 bpm, which is about 45-50 bpm below the joyous pace the tune itself seems to ‘want,” with the performer’s embellishments, the piece comes off sounding much brighter in tempo than it actually is.

While I’d never sing the song as slowly as Darnell’s fundamental tempo as played, it sounds (or rather feels) as though it’s at the tempo the tune demands. It isn’t, but it does catch the brightness and joyousness of the tune, which makes contemplating the words of Wesley’s text all the better.

3 Replies to “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus”

  1. Thanks for the plug, David-my-brother, I truly appreciate it. I’m also going to try to do what I did two years ago, and post at least one Christmas-related entry each day through December 26th (yes, the day after Christmas – ’cause we know the Story does not end with the Birth! 😉 ) So, stay tuned to CatHouse Chat, and I pray that you are blessed by each day’s meditation.

    Much love and many hugs to you and yours, luv, and all the abundant blessings of the season!

    — Kat

  2. Pingback: christmas poems
  3. Pingback: CatHouse Chat

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *