Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Advent Thought #24 - December 23

Some nativities include the wise men who traveled from afar to visit the young child, Jesus.

Really, these figures don't belong near the manger. I suppose if I were to be correct, I'd place them across the room somewhere. I don't know when they first saw the star, announcing the birth of the King of the Jews, but Jesus was almost, if not, two years old before they arrived. Another thing, we don't really know for sure, is that there were just three of them. There could have been 300...Scripture doesn't make it clear. We simply know they gave the little King three gifts. And, they weren't really Kings, they were "wise" men, smart men, knowledgable in the sciences, the study of the stars, agriculture, mathematics, as well as, political and religious information.

These "wise" men had been around since Daniel's day (see Daniel 6), and had probably come from as far away as Babylon (currently the area around Baghdad). Undoubtedly, they had been greatly influenced in Judaism, and possibly had benefitted from the legacy and prophecy of Daniel, himself. Other than this, we don't know a lot about these men...they were strangers on the scene, but strangers who rattled the courts of King Herod, and all the chief priests, for sure!

And, yet, come they did, and a very long way (out of their way) just to see this special child and worship Him! We can learn much about worship from these men. In fact, all I really know about the wise men is how to experience true worship!

As we wind down the Advent season, this is a perfect time to contemplate our worship of the King of Kings. What does it look like to worship?  How can I, just like these wise men, come to him with a whole heart prepared to honor Him on the day of his birth?

Worship often means stepping out of my comfort zone. Just as the magi went out of their way, true worship means I may struggle with some feelings of mental discomfort. I go the extra mile...

True worship includes physical expression. The wise men "rejoiced exceedingly with great joy" (that doesn't sound like reverent whispers to me!). They "fell down and worshiped him."

True worship gives. "Opening their treasures, they offered Him gifts..."

True worship is excessive. "...gold, frankincense, myrrh."
Gold: worship gives sacrificially out of our wealth (a little P.S. here: it really is true, we've never been able to out-give God...we give, He always gives back).

Frankincense: a gift of perfume, or incense, which is representative of the prayers of our heart (research Scripture, and you often find references to prayer as a "sweet smelling offering" to the Lord). A worshipping heart is a prayerful heart.

Myrrh: an anointing oil, often used to anoint a body in death. Myrrh, representative of an offering of our lives - wholehearted and complete.

As I look back over each of these thoughts, I guess I can summarize true worship with two words: reckless abandon...

In a couple of days, I get to commemorate Christ's birth, as do you. We'll all do so differently, with a day filled with traditions familiar to each of our homes. But, may we, also, do so with a worship that's somewhat reminiscent of King David as he danced through the streets of Jerusalem with the Ark of the Covenant... What a celebration of worship our Savior deserves! Advent is near!

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