After our snowy, Colorado Thanksgiving was over, I began pondering what I could do to make Christmas more real this year. With a daughter expecting her first baby the day after Christmas, this celebration had already taken on a fresher more tangible expectation. As I reread some of my treasured books on the birth of the Messiah, the “long-expected Jesus” And, the lyrics from songs such as this one that I sang as a child –
“Come, Thou long-expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free
From our fears and sins release us
Let us find our rest in Thee
Israel’s strength and consolation
Hope of all the earth Thou art
Dear Desire of every nation
Joy of every longing heart” by Charles Wesley, —
I began writing the twelve days of Christmas with a renewed perspective concerning the birth of Christ. I include my final reflection here on my blog.
On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me: a renewed desire to worship the “long-expected Jesus”! John MacArthur says that Worship is the missing element in the monstrosity that Christmas has become. He goes on to say that worship is a state of the heart and involves sacrifice (Romans 12:1-2), giving (Philippians 4:18), service to others (Hebrews 13:16), proclaiming the good news of salvation (Romans 15:16), along with living one’s life as a testimony of God’s truth. And MacArthur illustrates worship with the example of the shepherds: They dropped everything they were doing to attend His birth. There is a sense of urgency and godly determination in the way they came to Him: “It came about that when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, ‘Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.’ And they came in haste and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the Baby as He lay in the manger” (Luke 2:15-16). That isn’t all. They also shared the news with everyone around: “When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child” (Luke 2:17). The magi also illustrate worship: Later when the magi showed up “They fell down and worshiped Him” giving Him gifts (Matthew 2:11). And even Mary beautifully illustrates a heart of worship through her quiet reflection recorded in verse 19 of Luke chapter 2. And the apostle Paul reminds us to worship with thankful hearts for the gift that was given to us, “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15). Worship the “long-expected Jesus” this Christmas!