Summary: An important part of worship is to pause and reflect on the one we worship and what it means that He is with us.
A pastor and his wife were driving to visit Grandma and Grandpa for Christmas.
Their daughter asked the inevitable question, “Are we almost there?”
The father said, “No, we are still 150 miles away.”
She asked, “Well, how long is that?”
“Well, honey, it’s about three more hours.”
She didn’t say anything for a few moments as she thought about what three hours must be.
She leaned forward from the back seat to the front, making sure she could see her mother’s face and said, “Mommy, is that as long as one of Daddy’s sermons?”
Today won’t be one of those sermons but it is important that on this day we stop and talk about the meaning of this season. What really happened on that day. Too many times when we think of Christmas we simply think of a baby in a manger, but of course we really it was so much more than than because the baby was so much more than that. He was our God and He came down to be with us. That is the whole meaning of this season, that we take the time to celebrate what He did for us, that He is with us still today, because He came to be with us then. I love how John the Evangelist put it in his gospel. “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” What a great description of who God is and what a great thing to celebrate.
Here at Madison we’ve dubbed this particular Christmas as a “Season of Worship.” We’ve been looking at how the attitude of worship is reflected in the lives and actions of the people in the Christmas story. Because that is what worship really is. Worship is not limited to singing or playing music, worship is our all that is within me response to all that God is, and says and does. When we really worship it impacts our lives and our actions.
Today we are going to be looking at a familiar passage Luke 2:1-7, “In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”
How would we respond if we could be transported to that time and that place? What would it be like to see what they felt, to see what they saw? In my heart the overwhelming response when I imagine it is adoration. The kind of love that drops you to your knees in silence as you are overwhelmed with emotion and feeling. Think about what adoration is. Adoration is defined as a feeling of profound love and admiration. That is what I picture feeling that day, and again it is an act of worship. Perhaps it is the most common picture of worship, but it should not be the only one. You see we don’t always respond in the same what because God doesn’t always come to us in the same way and we aren’t always seeing Him in the same way.
One of the images that we’ve been looking at is the picture of God in the temple in Isaiah 6. When the prophet saw God the Lord was high and lifted up, He was so immense and so powerful that the train of His robe filled the entire temple. When Isaiah saw it, He cried out, “Woe is me I am ruined.” It was the response of worshipper because he saw God for who He really is and Isaiah realized the difference between himself and God. The great thing about this picture is that when the prophet was broken in confession, God didn’t leave him there. God sent an angel to restore him. It is a different picture of how God comes to us and it required a different response.
The beauty of Christmas is that ultimately God Himself came to us, because ultimately He was the only one who could pay the price for our sins. So the one who is high and lifted up came down to the manger as a baby so that he could be crucified for our sins and then step out of the grave having conquered sin and death so that He could give us the ultimate gift, eternal life with Him. God comes to us in different ways and so we come to Him in different ways. Let’s look at a few of the ways we come to God as seen in the Christmas story.