It’s time to stop and worship. The long month of busy preparations are nearly over. Family and friends and church community are ready to gather. Decorations are in place, gifts are wrapped, food is prepared. The moment comes -- after all of the distraction, after all of the busyness, after all of the build-up -- tranquil peace, heartfelt joy, wondrous worship. I feel it every year, that moment of stillness when “all is calm, all is bright”. I feel it every year when we do the simplest thing there is -- we sing. I feel it every year as I bring my heart and mind to join with all gathered worshippers,
O Come, all ye faithful... Come and behold him... O come, let us adore him... Christ, the Lord
Consider this your invitation to “come and behold him”. Our Westside Christmas eve celebration times are 3:00, 4:30, and 6:00 pm. We will be singing, celebrating, and pondering this most beautiful story of grace: when God came to us in Jesus.
And perhaps, as you come to worship, you could hold in your heart the story of the journey of the magi (wisemen), as told in Matthew 2. Remember how after all of their pondering and searching, their long travels, their disturbing encounter with an ugly hater (King Herod), all fades into the background when they come to the place where the young child was: “they saw the child… and worshipped him” (Matt. 2:11).
I hope a moment like that happens for you as well.
Matthew 2:1-11 [TNIV] After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:
“‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”
After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.