Saturday, December 19, 2015

Advent XXI

There is something very special about Christmas worship.  Perhaps, the focus is so unique, or maybe it is the scripture around which the worship centers, or just maybe, it is the exceptional music which is a part of the season.  One of my favorite and most used definitions of worship is "our response to what God is doing."  While it may be too simple for some and not theological enough for some, it is one that works for me.  In today's ecclesiastical culture, worship seems to be about entertainment, or doing it with more "shazam!" or being more spectacular than the church down the street.  Worship is a simple thing.  It is our response to what God has done and is doing.

As we find ourselves reading the traditional Christmas narrative in Luke, we certainly see numerous examples of worship.  The first worship moment took place not in the manger, but out in the field where smelly shepherds sat around a fire trying to stay warm.  All of a sudden the sky above them burst open with an angel announcing what God was doing that very night in a nearby village.  And, then hardly had the angelic voice ceased speaking when a host of heavenly angels starting singing and praising God with that familiar anthem, "Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom He favors." (Luke 2:14)  The first act of worship on that night so different from all other nights was heavenly worship.  There in the presence of those shepherds, heaven raised up its voice in praise to God.

When we really find ourselves caught up in worship, there is always something transcendent about it.  It becomes a moment for us of heaven breaking into earth, of the sacred breaking in the secular, of God being present among humankind.  Too many times we settle for the mundane, or the momentary excitement of some moment of entertainment when God has so much more to offer those who come before Him with nothing more than an eagerness to respond to Him for all the things He has done and continues to do in our midst. 

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