Written by Charles Wesley in 1744, this hymn “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus,” focuses on the Savior’s coming to provide salvation to all who believe. As we visited a church in Hilton Head, SC, the third verse of this hymn gripped me.
I have often sung the first verse:
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.
But the third verse really captured my attention:
Come to earth to taste our sadness, he whose glories knew no end;
by his life he brings us gladness, our Redeemer, Shepherd, Friend.
Leaving riches without number, born within a cattle stall;
this the everlasting wonder, Christ was born the Lord of all.
Has it dawned on you that the Lord Jesus came down from heaven’s glories to “taste your sadness”? I’m reminded of Hebrews 2:9 which says, “But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.” Do I believe He also tasted my sadness?
May I ask you, my friend, what sadness has gripped your soul? It may be sadness at the sorry state of the world, grief at the brokenness of the lives of loved ones, or despair over the state of your own heart. Jesus tasted that sadness — and He came to redeem you and that tragedy (whatever it may be). The prophet Isaiah tells us “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows” (Is. 53:4).
Give Him that gift of your sadness today — as a Christmas present to the Savior who entered the world not just to taste death for you, but to taste — and redeem — your sadness.