The Story Behind Come Thou Long Expected Jesus
In 1744, Charles Wesley considered Haggai 2:7 and looked at the situation of orphans in the areas around him. He also looked at the class divide in Great Britain. Through this train of thought, he wrote "Come, Thou long expected Jesus" based upon Haggai 2:7 and a published prayer at the time which had the words:
"Born Your people to deliver, born a child and yet a King, born to reign in us forever, now Your gracious kingdom bring. By Your own eternal Spirit, rule in all our hearts alone; by Your all sufficient merit, raise us to Your glorious throne. Amen."
Wesley adapted this prayer into a hymn in 1744 and published it in his "Hymns for the Nativity of our Lord" hymnal.
"Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus" was the first of a number of Wesley's hymns that became known as the "Festival hymns". These "Festival hymns" were published outside of Methodism by German, John Frederick Lampe in 1746. The hymn came into popular knowledge across Christian denominations in England via popular Baptist preacher, Charles Spurgeon. Spurgeon made a Christmas sermon in London in 1855 when he was 21 and included sections of "Come thou long expected Jesus" in it. He did this to illustrate his point that very few are "born king" and that Jesus was the only one who had been born king without being a prince.