Worship, the response to Christmas

Built on a Rock

The familiar Christmas story of Jesus coming to earth as a baby has a theme woven
through all the stories: worship.

When Zechariah the priest (modern translation, a pastor) was in the temple (modern translation, a church) doing his ritualistic worship, an angel interrupted him. Instead of being in awe and wonder, he doubted and did not worship.

When Mary was living her ordinary life and an angel of the Lord came to her, she responded in worship by yielding to God’s plans rather than her own.

When the wise men (modern translation, far away immigrant scientists) came to the temple to see where they could worship the King of the Jews, Herod and the local theologians became insecure and frantically read their books to figure out what these guys were talking about. Herod even used worship as a way to try and trick the wise men to revealing this newborn king. But it didn’t work.

Shepherds, who were some of the lowest, filthiest, locker room language talking, non-church going people, were met by angels telling them to go see God’s “Glory in the highest.” And instead of hiding in shame and saying, “We are not worthy,” they ran to the place where Jesus was and worshiped him.

Worship was the correct response to the first Christmas and continues to be today. But is that our response?

Now hear me out before you throw this article away, because I am all for tradition, lights and things that bring about the Christmas spirit. But sometimes even Christians can start worshiping things more than we worship Jesus during the Christmas season.

I hate to break it to you, but they did not sing “Silent Night” or have candles that first Christmas. They did not have programs and they definitely did not dress up in their best dress or suit (especially Mary). What they had was simple, yet worthy of worship. What they had was something so incredible and so marvelous that they did not need anything else.

Traditions and Christmas programs are a fun part of the season, and they definitely have their place; but sometimes the simple act of looking to Jesus, God who came to us as a baby, is enough. It is enough to fill our hearts with peace and joy because we see that God is for us and not against us. We see that God is with us, even in the midst of confusion and chaos. We see that He is a God who will go to great lengths to show his love, compassion, and mercy for his people. All of this seen in a baby named Jesus.

My desire for us all is not to have a reaction like Zechariah, Herod or the scribes, where they did not worship because of their religious traditions or their pride. How terrible would it be that after spending all of Advent focusing on Jesus, you never spent time truly worshiping him – bending low like the shepherds did in reverence, seeking out Jesus through the scriptures like the wise men did, responding to His presence in your life like Mary did with a willing heart.

I hope that you are able to truly worship Jesus this Christmas. Wherever you are and however you celebrate, may your heart be filled with wonder and your mouth filled with praise as you worship Jesus this Christmas.

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