The Christmas Worship Challenge

Worship Like a Wise Man

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Welcome to the Christmas Worship Challenge! I am sooo glad you stopped in for a visit. I hope this devo helps get your heart geared for worship with some simple, practical tips as we are reminded to “Worship Like a Wise Man.”

“When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.And having been warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod, the magi left for their own country by another way.”– Matthew 2:10-12

There is simplicity to this familiar story. Some of us may have heard it many times. Familiarity can sometimes numb our spirits to the wonder of discovery. Embedded in this passage are some practical examples of simple things we can do to worship Christ.

I am starting with prayer…cause I need it

Lord, I ask for fresh eyes to see the wonder of Christ this Christmas. Energize my heart to respond with holy awe as I read familiar words and sing traditional carols. Help me to enjoy the activity and fullness of this season without sacrificing worship on the altar of activity and distraction. Whisper words of love and joy to my heart as I reflect on the majesty of Christ. When I see you, my heart will respond with worship that is vibrant and sincere. This is my desire, and this is my prayer.

Seven Simple Steps for Worship

1. See: These wise men had been looking for, expecting the birth of the ruler foretold in the Scriptures. Seek Him. Expect Jesus.

2. Rejoice:  “Rejoice with exceedingly great joy.” This phrase almost falls over itself with excitement and joy that is overflowing and contagious. Seek the joy of Christ this Christmas. It is so easy to seek joy in all of the traditions, celebrations, and expectations that come with Christmas.Where is your joy? If your joy is feeling a little lacking, ask God to fill your heart with Joy of His Spirit, joy that comes from appreciating anew the wonder of Christ.

3. Come in. Be intentional. Be focused. Motivation and attention are keys for entering into the meaning of the words of Scripture. Participate. Don’t just hover at the door, almost in, but not quite. Come in. Get close. Get personal with Christ.

4. Worship with a whole-heart. The more deeply we encounter the reality of Christ, the more spontaneous and true our worship will be

5. Open your treasures. Open your heart, your time, and the desires of your heart. Lay  them at His feet as an act of worship.  “For where your treasure is, there will be your heart also.”–Luke 12:34

6. Give Him your gifts. Ask God to show you ways to give of yourself and your abundance, to give of your heart as you worship Him.

7. Obey God’s directions. This story would be incomplete without the obedience of the Magi. How can God work through your obedience this Christmas season to accomplish His will? Just like the Magi, we have a choice. How amazing that God chooses us to participate in fulfilling His Kingdom.

Which simple step stands out to you today? Share your thoughts in the comment section:)

Love this song. When you watch, keep your eye out for the little boy saying his prayers–it will bring a smile to your heart and a chuckle out of your lips.

by  Ginger Harrington

Christmas Worship Challenge

“Worship is God’s idea; in fact, He created us to be people that worship. We are made for His pleasure, and our worship pleases Him very much.”

Rick Warren, The Purpose-Driven Life

Picture1 Give God the Gift of Worship this Christmas

I love Christmas! I look forward to decorating the tree, pulling out ornaments sweet-made by young hands of kids now grown tall. I can’t wait to get that first Christmas card, usually from my friend Karen. Traditions abound and there are so many fun events and gatherings. I’ll admit that shopping isn’t my favorite-I often struggle to think of that great gift…let alone find it…on sale. The baking, the decorating, the festive, merry-making–I enjoy all of it.

Picture2This photo brings the sting of tears sweet and longing as I remember the joy of Grandmas and kids making sugar-cookie yumminess. Christmas memories are a treasure as the years pass.

Beginning with the marketing and shopping frenzy of Black Friday, the Christmas season is ushered in with the brash call of commercialism. Our calendars are packed tight with activities and celebrations. Anticipation and expectation build. With all of the goings-on, I often find myself caught up in the roll-tide of activity. The fun and excitement of the Christmas season often distracts me from truly appreciating the One we celebrate. There is a part of   each one of us that is made to worship, to enjoy communion and relationship with God. This part of me aches with frustration when I find myself caught tight in an over-crowded schedule of commitments and expectations.

Each year, I try to approach the coming season with organization. Somewhere I have a list of ways to prepare for Christmas ahead of time, tips like write your Christmas cards in September and shop the after-Christmas sales for next year. I have no idea where this list of efficiency is. And somehow, the day after Christmas, I am too exhausted to even think about fighting the crowds to shop for…next year?!

None of this eases the ache of distraction that time quiet and reverent with God heals. This year, by the grace of the One born at Christmas, I want to do it differently.

I am rearranging my to-do list, re-ordering my priorities.

This year, I want to daily practice the habit of worship, to cherish the presence of Immanuel, God with us. This year I place a hedge of protection over my spirit by placing worship at the top of my Christmas To-Do list. Now I am not talking about locking myself away, ignoring or by-passing all of the festivity. Not at all. This year I am choosing wisely and putting the best first.

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

Matthew 6:33

This verse applies to how we approach the Christmas season. The spiritual principal here is profoundly practical. In a few words, Jesus teaches us how to keep our priorities in order.

This Christmas, I want to seek Him first…

and carry the blessing with me into all of the other things I do each day this busy, wonderful, joyous December.

Can it be that choosing to worship first, that we will be better equipped spiritually and practically to enjoy all the wonder of Christmas?

So here’s the challenge…

I invite you to join me as I seek to increase my heart for worship. I ask God to open our hearts to seek Him daily with an intention to worship and treasure the true wonder of Christmas.For myself, my goal is to take time each day to worship. This is my simple prayer, “Lord, teach me to worship with a greater vision of the  majesty and worthiness of Christ.”

You may be thinking, “Nice thought, but I don’t have time.” My goal is to keep this short, giving a few thoughts to chew on. The challenge is to work on developing a mindset to worship, to enjoy God’s presence throughout the day.

Let’s do this together and experience the joy that comes from worshiping Christ. This challenge will not be complete without participation. Let’s encourage one another and share insights, experiences, and blessings that come with being intentional in worship this month. Get ready to rejoice!

by Ginger Harrington