I remember sitting on my friend’s back porch on a summer night, watching a meteor shower. Tiny streaks of light shot across the sky before disappearing. Such a sight was probably common for the shepherds who slept under the stars near their flocks. Until one night, an angel of the Lord appeared, and the sky filled with the radiance of God’s glory, surrounding them in light.
The Bible says the shepherds were terrified. These were boys and men who’d fought off wolves, bears, and lions to defend their sheep, so for them to be frightened is saying something. The first thing the angel says is not to be afraid, that he has come with good news that will bring great joy to all the people. A messiah has been born in the City of Bethlehem, and you’ll find him in a manger wrapped in swaddling clothes (Luke 2).
Interestingly, the angel doesn’t send them off to see the baby straight away. He doesn’t draw a map or tell them to eat up for the journey. He doesn’t give the details of how Mary and Joseph landed in Bethlehem or how the newborn Savior will someday ransom the captives free and save the world. The first thing the angel does after announcing the birth of Jesus is to worship. A heavenly host joins the angel praising, “Glory to God in the highest heaven and on earth peace to those in whom His favor rests.” Luke 2:14
The first thing the shepherds and angels did at the first Christmas was worship.
This put me in my place. What was the first thing I started to do at Christmas? Shop. Decorate. Make lists of who I need to buy presents for. I can hear Charlie Brown saying, “Good grief.” I have a friend who I tease for playing Christmas music in October, but now I know she has the right Christmas attitude—beginning with a heart of worship.
Jesus tells the Samaritan woman in Luke 4:23, “But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way.” Worship isn’t just a genre of Christian music—with a slower tempo and reverent tone. It’s realizing in our hearts and minds how great God is and how dependent we are upon Him. Sometimes it’s a deeper understanding of how lost we are, how stained, dirtied, and defiled we are by sin, but then realizing the lengths God has gone to save us, wipe us clean, and cast our sins as far as the east is from the west. When we consider the greatness of our God, our hearts can’t help but want to sing, dance, or shout His praise.
Worship can come in all forms:
- The angels and heavenly hosts singing
- The shepherds telling everyone they saw about a savior born as a baby in a manger
- The woman with the bottle of perfume pouring it over Jesus and wiping his feet clean with her hair and tears.
- For King David, it was dancing (sometimes naked but I’d recommend only doing that in the shower, so you don’t get arrested), playing his harp, singing, or silent moments of selah.
For me, a form of worship is writing these blogs and reflecting on how God has changed me through all my crazy life stories that I get to share with you. I’m so grateful to God for this opportunity and thank you for being such a valuable part of it.
If, like me, you’ve been caught up in the busyness of the Christmas season. Take a moment to worship. Stop wherever you are and reflect for a second on God’s goodness. Tell Him how amazing He is and thank Him for how He’s changed your life.
God is listening, and you’ll be blessed by it.
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