1168640_1661053884153784_1971903738_nJoshua Phillips on Instagram

Oh Holy Night is an Advent song, a traditional hymn proclaiming the goodness and fulfillment of Christ’s coming.  Sing it at Christmas, shelve it for the rest of the year.

It seems oddly appropriate for Lent, too. Long lay the world, in sin and error pining. Waiting for Christ’s redemption that comes through the darkest night, bittersweetly named “Good Friday.”  Lent calls us to fast, to let our desire for God grow – Lent calls us to pine.

Pining is another hunger in us, a longing for the restoration to what we were meant to be.  We pine away for a Creator and His healed world, for true justice, peace, and love to reign again in the personhood of Jesus.  We pine for fully satisfied relationship with Jesus in which we are joyfully united as a bride with the bridegroom.  Whether we acknowledge it or not, we know deep down that the world as it is, is not the world it should be.  Long lay the world, in sin and error pining.

Lent may call for us to fast from food or distraction, but this Lenten season I was hoping I could fast from pining, to distance myself from the deeply felt longing for the world to be made right again.  I feel the sin and error much more acutely; Jesus, don’t leave us in this sorry state!  The longing is killing me, Jesus.  Can’t I just silence the longing with distractions and bury it deep?

Lent calls us to align ourselves with the world’s longing.  Here we are, Lord!  Longing for your redemption! Here we are, Lord, tired!  It’s tiring to wait, Jesus!

When, God, will You appear, that we will know our true selves, the Bride, in the light of the Bridegroom’s glory?  Breathe new life and hope into our weary bodies, let it restore our hope and bring joy to crushed spirits.

O Holy night, the stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Til He appeared and the soul felt it’s worth
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn
Fall on your knees
O hear the angel voices
O night divine!
O night when Christ was born
O night divine!
O night, o night divine!
And in His Name, all oppression shall cease
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we
Let all within us praise his holy name
Christ is the Lord!
Their name forever praise we
Noel, Noel
O night, o night Divine
Noel, Noel
O night, o night Divine
Noel, Noel
O night, o holy Divine
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