By now you’re knee-deep in Christmas. Somewhere there’s a space overflowing with gifts to be wrapped. Plans have been laid for Christmas celebrations. Who’s bringing what to where has been decided. The tree has been trimmed and the house decorated. There has been Secret Santa’s and gift exchanges. Cards from friends close and from those seldom seen have landed in the mailbox. Perhaps there’s even been an unexpected gift or two. All because of a baby born in a stable to poor parents far from home.
Many of you will pause sometime over the next few days and read the Christmas story. There’s an observation that I’d like to pass on to you that I heard from my Pastor.* He observed that the shepherds worshiped Jesus before He ever did anything. They worshipped because of who He was, not because of what He had done, would do, could do, or might do. The shepherds worshipped solely on the words spoken by angels.
Most of us started our walk with Jesus by wanting something, needing something from Him. A crisis of circumstance or faith caused us to seek a savior. It could have been a physical need, a heartache that wouldn’t heal, or a vacuum of guilt that we couldn’t fill. Most of us worship because of what Jesus has done for us – and that’s ok. A few worship Jesus because they want something from Him – that’s not so ok. But what if we worshipped Jesus like the shepherds? What if we worshipped Jesus because of who He is and not because of what He’s done for us, what He will do for us, or what He could do for us.
Somewhere this Christmas someone will say – “It’s the thought that counts”. Our worship is like that. Jesus doesn’t care if we sing well, pray elegantly, or write beautifully. Like a mother receiving a first grader’s painted macaroni picture of a Christmas tree that looks more like a squished snowman – its the thought that counts. Our worship will always fall far short of His glory. But our attitudes, our desires, our motivation, our “thought that counts” does matter. This Christmas and beyond into the New Year lets worship Jesus for who He is, focusing more on Him than on ourselves, our needs, and our problems.
*Pastor Tom Schrock, New Life Community Church, Henry, Illinois.