As a result of our Advent devotions this year, I’m rethinking my response to the Christmas story, and making some vertical adjustments.
By the Christmas story, of course, I mean the now familiar account of a tender, vulnerable baby boy born in the humblest of Judean settings.
Granted, there’s nothing unusual about a baby’s birth on any day of the year, but there’s something entirely compelling about this one birth that is starkly contrasted with the sheer power and universal impact of the occasion, and evidenced by who did what next.
Suddenly, a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest.Luke 2:13-14
Immediately after the birth, the skies filled with splendor and song as the heavenly host burst out in worship and praise at the news. I don’t recall that happening when any of my children were born.
Next, the Jewish shepherds, who witnessed the celestial show, went to Bethlehem, helped to spread the word, and then …
… returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen …Luke 2:20
Matthew then tells us that Magi from a distant country to the east travelled to Bethlehem to worship ‘the one who was born king of the Jews’.
When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him.Matthew 2:10-11
Don’t miss this — some of the earliest worshippers were not even Jewish believers. They were gentiles. Some travelled a great distance to seek out and then to worship one who they discerned was entirely worthy of their worship. And the text says they were filled with joy at the opportunity to do that.
Who from the moment of his birth has inspired foreigners of other faiths and races and cultures to bow down and worship of their own volition? Who in all of creation and in all of history is worthy of the heavens breaking out in visual and audible praise?
Even George Lucas couldn’t have conceived this radically spectacular script which opens with the incarnation: A virgin conceives a child … God takes on human flesh in order to redeem humanity … a baby is worshiped the moment he arrives … the baby grows up to be a man … the man clearly demonstrates his divinity … the man willingly dies an agonizing death to atone for humanity’s sin … but the man rises again defeating sin and death and Satan … man returns to heaven, vowing to return one last time to tie up history.
If that wasn’t enough, God’s word gives us a powerful glimpse into worship of the Lamb within the throne room of heaven …
Holy, holy, holy
is the Lord God Almighty,
who was, and is, and is to come.
You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
and with your blood you
purchased men for God
from every tribe and language and
people and nation.Revelation 4:8b, 5:9
So here’s an idea to consider: Regardless of your faith tradition — whatever position you like to assume, or direction you prefer to face when you pray — come and worship the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.
The helpless little baby boy of the Christmas story is the one true God. There is no other. He alone is worthy of our worship.
From my house to yours — merry, happy Christmas!
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