I was listening to the Christmas carol ‘Angels from the realms of glory’ the other day. There was a particular line that was repeated in each verse that captured my attention, the call to ‘come and worship’.
What will you be worshipping this Christmas? As you are reading this article, it may be because you probably have some connection with our church and, therefore, worship is something that perhaps you know happens in church.
However, to quote the writer Tim Keller, ‘we all worship something, religious or non-religious’. At a certain Premier League football ground there is a banner that states the team is ‘the religion and this is where we worship’.
Worship simply means to show reverence and adoration for something or someone. We live an age where celebrities are, to a degree, worshipped. The root of the English word ‘worship’ means ‘worth-ship’, which means acknowledgement of worth.
In the carol there is a call to ‘worship Christ the newborn King’. What will you be putting high worth on in this season? Jesus said that ‘where your treasure is, there your heart will be also’ (Matthew 6:21). What is the highest thing of high worth? Parties? Presents? People? These are not necessarily wrong. (Just to be clear I’m not going to advocate a ban on mince pies!)
But what will we be putting the highest worth on at this time of year and, by default, worshipping? Here are some things we worship and God’s response:
Romantic love: the human longing for true love. Being with family and friends can be so rewarding. And for those who have loved and lost, Christmas can be a difficult time of year. However, Jesus came to show us the greatest love, and calls us into the greatest eternal loving relationship which is never lost. We are called to love the Lord our God with our ‘all’ as He has loved us, and then in turn love one another.
Treasures: We live in a material age where money and possessions can take over. At Christmas the amount of money spent and items bought will be more than at any other time of the year. We can come and worship treasures of our age: houses, cars, clothes, jewellery. There are the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots'. Often those who ‘have’ want more, and those who ‘have not’ can be absorbed by the desire for things. Yet Jesus came with nothing materially, not even a place to rest His head. He said ‘store up treasures in heaven where it can’t be stolen, rot or rust’. Earthly treasures pass away, but He gives treasure in Him that never fades.
Success: There is such a pressure at this time of year for the ‘perfect’ present, party, food, experience etc. This desire goes beyond Christmas to success in careers, relationships, power and position. Social media is full of people projecting their perfect lives, which deep down we know are not real. If we are what we measure, few would measure up if at all to being successful. Jesus came to serve; His success was dying on a cross, for our failure to measure up to God’s definition of perfection, ‘sinlessness’. Sin is not simply what we say, do or think wrong, it is putting anything in the place of God; worshipping the material, a person or an idea rather than God. Success in God’s eyes is putting our failures on Jesus and embracing His love, treasure and forgiveness. Not that we deserve it, but that God gives it in response to faith in Jesus.
I believe we were made to worship and in the ‘Angels from the realms of glory’ carol, the heavenly host, shepherds and wise men were all going to the infant Christ to ‘worship Him’. So let’s worship Him for being the One who gives true eternal love, treasure beyond measure, and success and true meaning, as we put our faith in Jesus. The last verse of the carol looks ahead to the day when Jesus will return: a second advent. When saints – those who believe in Jesus – will worship the returning King. I wonder if you will be one of those who will come and worship, this Christmas?
Why not come to Jesus and find the one who gives true meaning to Christmas?