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Advent is the time of waiting and expectation! As we saw in episode 1 the coming of the Messiah was promised by Isaiah. There was great expectation by God’s people of what the Messiah would do to free and save them. Join us today as we learn about expectant hope in Jesus Christ, our Prince of Peace.

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Welcome to the Prince of Peace podcast. Over 10 episodes we will explore together what it means to know this Prince of Peace and celebrate his gift of salvation this Christmas time. Make sure you subscribe wherever you are listening to this so that you will automatically get the next episode. A video version is available on the YouTube channel for Annalong Presbyterian Church. New episodes will be available on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays up to, and including, Christmas Eve.

Keeping in the theme of the Advent carol that we looked at in episode one, our carol today is ‘Come, Thou long-expected Jesus’ by Charles Wesley. Advent is not just a time of waiting, but a time of expectation. There was great hope in the Messiah and what he would bring. For many at the time of Isaiah, whose message we read in our first episode, the Messiah was a liberator from their physical distress; someone to rescue them from all their foes. Very few interpreted the Messiah as the Saviour of sins and the great rescuer from God who would, through his death and resurrection, bring us back to the Father. It’s in the first verse that we hear of the peace that the Messiah will bring. Have a listen, and perhaps even sing along, to this advent carol as sung by our congregation.

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.

Remember back to the Christmases you knew as a child. In many ways they are no different from today. The gifts might be different and the faces around the Christmas table may have changed, but the feeling of Christmas is something that remains with us. There is great expectation at Christmas time. It might be we expect the sentimentality of our Christmas traditions, or a fixed way in which everything is made ready. Perhaps our expectations are set high each year for the perfect gifts we will give and receive. Or maybe our hope, more than expectation, is that we will simply get through it in one piece! In many ways the expectation of Christmas can be best seen in a child on Christmas morning who, with their presents set before them, are oblivious to all the preparations that have been made for the Christmas dinner, the buying of the presents and the cleaning of the house. Their eager expectation is to what is wrapped beneath the paper and the fun and excitement the gift will bring.

This is the type of expectation we sing about in ‘Come, Thou long-expected Jesus’. We eagerly await Christ because he is the one who has come to set people free from the grip of Satan, the evil one. The third and fourth lines of verse 1 tell us that he has come to give us peace. The line reads,

From our fears and sins release us

Let us find our rest in Thee.

The prophet Isaiah again helps us understand what this means. In Isaiah 61: 1-2, known as the section telling us about the year of the Lord’s favour, we read,

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favour, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn.

The coming Messiah, our Prince of Peace, was coming with a great job to do. He was coming to free us from all that would stop us worshipping him. In this list of tasks that Isaiah gives us, the Messiah would bring good news to the poor, strengthen the week, bring freedom to the captives and release those imprisoned. All of these things in Isaiah’s list have happened as a result of sin, either the sin of the world or personal sin and the Messiah has come to free, liberate and restore — he has come to bring peace.

For each and everyone of us there are things in our lives that hinder us from true worship of God. The sin that so easily entangles us draws us away from him. We need to know the forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ, so that we can know peace. When writing to the Church in Rome, Paul says in Romans 6:22,

But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.

Christ sets us free from sin and gives us peace so that we will know the assurance of eternal life with him. We may not like to think of ourselves as slaves of God, but this means we submit to him. At the end of the day we all submit to something. We either submit to the practices and culture of the world and the sin that envelopes us, or we submit to God so that we can know freedom and the peace that can only he can give. Our invitation today is to know this freedom, to know the Lord’s favour and to know his peace, all through his son, Jesus Christ.

As our carol today tells us in verse 3 of the written hymn,

Born Thy people to deliver,

Born a Child and yet a King,

Born to reign in us for ever,

Now Thy gracious Kingdom bring.

What words of great hope and great expectation!

Thank you joining me today in this episode of the Prince of Peace podcast. Join me in episode three as we look at the carol ‘Sing we the song of Emmanuel’. Make sure you subscribe on YouTube or in your podcast app to get the next episode when it drops. Find out more at or check out our Facebook page and Instagram account. Links are in the show notes.

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