It was a beautiful, unexpected Christmas gift. Big, fluffy, light-as-a-feather snowflakes began tumbling from the sky late on Christmas afternoon. As daylight faded, the white crystals had already accumulated several inches deep and the sky showed no signs of the heaven sent gift retreating.
A Christmas snow seems magical, soft, and cozy. It’s the way this holy day is portrayed in modern carols, on cards, and in the plethora of Christmas car commercials and decorations from snowmen to snowflakes and flocked evergreen trees. We view holiday snow as enchanting.
But this Christmas snow became very unmagical and uncozy during the night when the total weight of more than twelve icy inches began to snap tree limbs by the thousands, downing power lines all over our city and several surrounding counties.
My husband wrote about this experience in his new book, Choosing a Life that Matters, describing vividly how our entire focus of life changed the minute our power died. All we thought about and wanted was warmth. For four and a half days we missed and longed for the comfort of heat and lights and appliances that worked! The experience reminded us how easy it is to worship personal comfort.
When the angels appeared before cold, tired, uncomfortable shepherds on the hills of Bethlehem, the sudden realization: another world existed…one that was orchestrated by Almighty God…commander of angel armies… led them to worship!
Each December we remember the shepherds, not their cold discomfort.
We remember the angels, not the awe the shepherds felt.
We read Jesus’ birth story in fireside comfort, but do we worship or do we yawn?
Miracles marked this momentous event—the virgin birth, the angels, the magi, the star that moved. Those who saw, felt, and heard worshipped. And so it should be for us as we remember His birth each year.
But are we too busy, too tired, too preoccupied with our lists to worship?
Are we waiting to go to Christmas Eve services to worship?
Fifty miles from Jerusalem, in a town called Sycar, Jesus taught a disgraced woman about worship.
- It’s not about being perfect.
- It’s not being in the right location.
- It’s not about your denomination or race.
Worship is a response of the heart. Jesus said to her, “…true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such people the Father seeks to be His worshippers” (John 4:23).
Spontaneously, the shepherds fell to the ground on the rocky hillside in awe of the celestial beings. Their fatigue, discomfort, and cold were instantly forgotten. Arriving in the stable, they fell to the ground in worship of the baby Jesus, without thinking about how they looked.
The shepherds were not perfect.
The wise men, certainly exhausted by travel, worshipped Jesus right where they found Him, falling to their knees before Him in a building not designed for worship. Their hearts couldn’t help but express adoration and honor in the moment because they were consumed with the truth they had just discovered.
The wise men were not Jewish.
Today, when I hear the Holy Spirit whisper His truth to me, my heart responds with worship even if I don’t utter a word because I feel awe and wonder that the King of Kings would speak to me. When I remember He is with me and will never leave me, my heart sighs in gratitude, which is worship to my Father’s ears.
I am not confined to worship only in church.
Like the shepherds and wise men, I love responding spontaneously in every place, in any hour, in any condition to Jesus, once a Babe in the manger, for His love and grace poured out for me.
Worship, Jesus said, is in spirit and in truth.
May you ask God to help you see Him with fresh eyes this Christmas.
Ask Him to open your heart to His presence, His work, His whisper.
Choose to worship in your spirit when you remember His truth.
May you and yours remember and follow His star, His truth, His miraculous story and worship Him in spirit and in truth this season and into the New Year.