third sunday of advent

So we all know the song:
The one that proclaims joy to the world,
For the Lord is come,
But no one–or hardly anyone–
Sings the third verse,*
Which is a shame, because it tells us
The great and glorious truth
That the Lord also comes to make His blessings known
Far as, far as the curse is found–
Everywhere sin and satan have made their marks,
In hearts, in minds, in bodies, in matter.

So when He comes,
The blind see His face, the deaf hear His voice,
Lepers feel His touch, the lame dance to His song,
Minds are mended, lives are brought back from the grave,
Faith is given, sins are forgiven.

But what about those who live
In the dark places, in the four walls
Of their doubt and despair?
Does the kingdom come to the persecuted,
To the suffering, the dying, the mourning?
When it looks like God goes to everyone else,
It’s all too easy to take offense at Him.

But He says that the kingdom is yours,
You poor in spirit,
You persecuted for His sake;
Even if it does not seem to chase
Away the darkness of your dark night,
Know this: That the light of the world still shines on you,
If only as a flame now, then the bright sun of a day to come.
So wait for it like watchmen for the morning,
And joy will be yours indeed.

(*Here’s the third verse, by Mr. Isaac Watts:

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground–
He comes to make His blessings known
Far as the curse is found, far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as the curse is found.

Can I get an amen?)

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