O Come Let Us Adore Him
I love traditional Christmas songs. They are so full of worship – and so is the Christmas story. The wonder of the birth of Jesus has stirred the hearts of musicians throughout the centuries, producing the finest music befitting the birth of a king. Every time I hear Handel’s Messiah, for example, I can’t help but worship.
- an expression of reverence and adoration for God
- honor, adore, praise, glorify, exalt, extol…
- “fall down before” or “bow down before” (proskuneo)
Aren’t these the very words that we use when we sing “O Come Let Us Adore Him,” or the exalted “Gloria” of “Angels We Have Heard on High“?
But worship is more than words and song.
Worship is an attitude of the heart.
- a humble heart that bows down
- a thankful heart that praises
- an obedient heart that honors
- a repentant heart that God listens to (Psalm 66:18)
It is an open heart to Jesus that will find room to truly honor, adore, glorify and extol his praises.
Called to worship
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9
Jesus may not have looked like a king – but he is! We too, may not look like royalty, but we are! This gives us special privileges before God, but also special responsibilities – like that of declaring the praises of God. True worshipers will worship God with the whole of our hearts and lives.
“God looks for those who will worship him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23-24)
These are the words that Jesus spoke to the ‘woman at the well’, who was looking for a the Messiah – and because she had an expectant heart, she was ready to receive her King.
But Jesus didn’t arrive as we expect a king would arrive. There wasn’t any great fanfare (oops, except for an angelic choir – but only the shepherds saw them). There weren’t any royal entourages or special gilded birth announcements. That is really the beauty of it all. God is not looking for a ritual of worship, he is looking for a heart of worship. And that means that everyone can worship from the lowliest to the greatest. Take a look at the first worshipers, for example:
The poor and the lowly
Shepherds out in the field tending sheep. These were not the highest rung of society, but it seems that God has an affinity for shepherds (think King David). There must be something to the quiet of the fields that enables the human heart to be still enough to hear God.
“After seeing him…the shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen.”
God has a special covenant with the Jewish people, but through Jesus everyone has been invited to worship (and to become part of the family of God). Some of the first worshipers of Jesus were the Wise men/Magi from the East. The bible says that the universe displays the knowledge of God and these men from the east read the signs in the stars and came to worship a king.
“They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” (Matt. 2:11)
Simeon was an elderly devout Jew. God had promised him that he would not die until he saw the promised Messiah. His worshipful response to seeing the baby was prophetic as it revealed that Jesus would offer salvation to all people.
“He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying, ‘…I have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for all people. He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel.'” (Luke 2:28-32)
Although Mary was a very young woman, she was entrusted to bear the Son of God. Mary was worshiping Jesus even while he was still in her womb.
“Oh, how my soul praises the Lord. How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!” (Luke 1:46)
Although we don’t have a record of Joseph‘s verbal response, he worshiped God through obedience. He obeyed the angel of the Lord, not once but twice, and at great personal cost.
Zechariah was a very old priest in the service of God, but when an angel stood before him to announce that he and his wife would become parents of the prophet who would herald Jesus’ arrival, he had the temerity to question God. His punishment was that he was unable to speak until the child was born. However, when his mouth was opened his first words were those of worship.
“Praise the Lord…He has sent us a might Savior.” (Luke 1:68)
Everyone is invited to worship
Worship is truly a response of the heart that encounters God – whether that response is to bow down in submission, to praise in poetry and song, or to obey…
He is worthy of all of our praise – because of his justice, his mercy, his grace, his lovingkindness, his righteousness, his strength, his compassion, his holiness…I could go on and on.
God is worthy of our praise! O come, let us adore him.
Advent and the Christmas season present wonderful opportunities to express our worship of Jesus. Let us open our hearts to the wonder of Jesus and seek to worship him in spirit and in truth.
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