Ooooh, guys, I noticed something this morning that I want to share with you! I have been reading though this wonderful little book (again) to keep my head and heart focused through Advent. This morning was a reading about the wise men, and something clicked. I noticed there is one common thread in all of the usual Christmas stories from Matthew and Luke. Are you ready for it?
- Mary visits Elizabeth and they worship in word and song (Luke 2:39-56)!
- Zechariah's tongue is loosed when John is named and he worships in prophesy (Luke 1:67-79)!
- The heavenly host bursts into creation out in the fields and they worship (Luke 2:13-14)!
- The shepherds hasten to Bethlehem and they worship by telling the good news and praising and glorifying God (Luke 2:15-20)!
- Jesus is presented at the temple and Simeon, knowing He is "the One," worships in blessing Jesus and his parents (Luke 2:22-35)!
- The prophetess Anna , also in the temple, worshiped in thanksgiving and testimony (Luke 2:36-38)!
- The wise men, after their long search following the prophesies and signs, rejoice exceedingly with great joy and fall down in worship before a child (Matthew 2:1-12)
In these examples we discover the proper and ultimate way to celebrate Christmas - worshiping the King of kings, Jesus, the Christ, the Messiah, the Savior of the world sent by Almighty God to save His people from their sins.
You want more good news? Take a look at the cast of characters: some of those folks were looking for the Savior, some were not; some were quite noteworthy and important, some were not; some were quite religious, some were not; some were quite young, some were not. Yet all had their hearts touched by the news of and encounter with this child, and the only natural response was worship.
Where do you find yourself this Christmas? Stressed, grieving, depressed, hopeless? Excited, joyful, expectant, hopeful? Perhaps swinging back and forth between the ends of the emotional spectrum this time of year provides? Well, here's were we can all stop - before the babe in a manger of whom it was said:
She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save His people from their sins. Matthew 1:21
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end. Luke 1:32-33
We're all equal before this child, now King of kings. Not one of us is worthy; He is most excellent and praiseworthy. Always. And Jesus knows our experience; He walked this earth with all of its delights and griefs. What might happen in our lives if we surrender to Him before the manger?
Worship looks different at different times in our lives. Sometimes it is loud, exuberant, and full. Other times it's fall on your face and be silent. In a single hour it can be both! Let's not miss a good and proper celebration of Christmas this year. Let's allow the news to move our hearts. Follow the Spirit's lead and worship Christ, the newborn King, who you know goes on to indeed save His people from their sins and will come again!
PS This hymn seems like the perfect thing for further meditation on this theme: Angels from the Realm of Glory. The full lyrics are just perfect and remind us that God issues the ultimate invitation to Come! when we remember Christmas.