Responsive Worship: A Lesson From the Christmas Shepherds

The Christmas Worship Challenge

Don’t miss the fun idea for kids at the end of this post!

Giving glory to God just feels right doesn’t it?

How did your challenge go yesterday? Did you put on your dancin’ shoes and sing praise to God? When we put our whole heart into worship, fully leaded and fully engaged–joy releases in our soul.

The Westminster Catechism’s first question is this:What is the chief end of man? To glorify God and enjoy him forever. Worship is what we are made for–it should feel as natural as breathing.

Sometimes we forget that worship is not a duty; it is a gift.

The Shepherds Respond

Here we are back with the shepherds on the dark hillsides outside Bethlehem. The glory of God has just cracked open the night sky with news that will change the world.

“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.” So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger.”–Luke 2:15-16

 

Focus on their response. There is immediacy and urgency to their words, “Let us go straight to…and see.” Words turn to action as they left in a hurry, seeking to find this child.

Tucked away in this familiar account of the birth of Christ is a practical example of worship. In it’s simplest form, worship is an appropriate response to the worth of God…who He is, what He says, or what He does. These humble shepherds heard great news and they responded.

They heard; they wanted; they went.

 

Sometimes we make things, including worship, too complicated.

God’s story would have continued, but the story of the Shepherds would have come to a dull end if they had shrugged their shoulders and found an excuse not to act.

How much more exciting for them to have the adventure of seeking and searching to see if what they had been told was true.

Responsive worship brings us into the thick of what God is doing–it gets us involved and participating.

Worship Tip:

Hear and Respond

Seek and Find..Get Moving

The angel’s directions took them right to what the shepherds were looking for. Seek and find. Truly, it is very unlikely that we will find anything of value if we don’t look for it, participate in the process of finding it.

These days we are searching for ideas, answers, and solutions to the many challenges that life brings our way.  Because we are human, we will always be searching for something.

This desire to find something of value, a treasure of lasting significance, has been woven into the fabric of our being.

God put it there so we would seek Him.

 “… seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul…”–Deuteronomy 4:29

In this verse, the word seek is both an action and an attitude, meaning to search out, especially in worship or prayer.

The most important part of this verse is in God’s promise to be found.  Seeking God is the pathway to the heart of intimacy with God.

He also invites us to participate in the process of our own spiritual growth. When we seek with a desire to know more of God, He promises to be found.  This is not a one-time occurrence.  We can seek and keep seeking, regularly desiring to know God more deeply.

How should we seek?

With ALL heart and ALL soul.  It is too easy to half-heartedly go through the motions, rushing to wrap up one task and move on the next, isn’t it?

 It is so easy to be busy, but disengaged; active, but distracted–especially this time of year.

I don’t write this because I have got it down. I pen these words from my experience, often hampered by a heart easily distracted by all that glitters. The interesting thing is that the more we find Christ, the more we desire to seek Him for we are filled with treasure that is found in knowing God.

Today’s Worship Challenge:

So don’t stand around on your hillside…get going! Worship God by seeking Him with urgency, expectancy, and action. Hear what He says and get straight to it.

A fun idea for kids:

Each year when we put out our Nativity set, I gift wrap and hide the Baby Jesus figure.  When our kids were little, they loved reading the Christmas story and moving the figurines around. Some years they dressed up–so crazy cute! These are some of my favorite Christmas memories. As part of our Christmas Eve tradition, we have a treasure hunt, searching for the first gift of Christmas…Christ.

 

 

One Comment

  1. Pingback: Beat the Craziness of Christmas–Commit to Worship Christ this Christmas | Ginger's Corner

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