Rejoice, Rejoice, Believers
The Advent imagery of this hymn is waiting for the greatest of all weddings to take place. The whole world waited for wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton to take place last spring. Part of my family has lived in Windsor, England, the past three years. I remember hearing on the news how they waited for hours, pressed against the iron fence surrounding Buckingham Palace, just to get a glimpse and a couple of pictures of the royal family in procession.
I am writing these words after I have had the privilege of participating in a wedding. I had talked with bride and groom about all the preparations for this extraordinarily beautiful wedding and marriage feast. It was to take place in Vegas. It was my granddaughter. This was big for this country preacher. I can't remember ever doing so much waiting, but it was worth it.
It is easy to equate Advent with fear and judgment. It is good to be able to remind ourselves that we are waiting for the great wedding celebration.
Dear Jesus, we feel as giddy as a bride this Sunday as we wait to be forever united with you in marriage. Amen.
"Rejoice, Rejoice, Believers
1 Rejoice, rejoice, believers, and let your lights appear;
the evening is advancing, and darker night is near.
The bridegroom is arising and soon is drawing night.
Up, pray and watch and wrestle; at midnight comes the cry.
2 The watchers on the mountain proclaim the bridgegroom near;
go forth as he approaches with alleluias clear.
The marriage feast is waiting; the gates wide open stand.
Arise, O heirs of glory; the bridgefroom is at hand.
3 The saints, who here in patience their cross and suff'rings bore,
shall live and reign forever when sorrow is no more.
Around the throne of glory the Lamb they shall behold;
in triumph cast before him their diadems of gold.
4 Our hope and expectation, O Jesus, now appear;
arise, O Sun so longed for, o'er this benighted sphere.
With hearts and hands uplifted, we plead, O Lord, to see
the day of earth's redemption that sets your people free!