Worship Christ this Christmas

December starts tomorrow, and with it the rush and busyness of the holiday season. Though all the hustle and bustle of shopping and events and gatherings may be muted some this season, it’ll still be easy to make the perennial mistake of forgetting Christ during Christmas.

As we enter December, let me encourage you: don’t forget Christ this Christmas, worship Christ this Christmas.

Read again the familiar story of the wise men who came to Jesus, from Matthew 2, and notice how they approached Jesus:

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: “‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’” Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy11 And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. 12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.

Matthew 2:1–12

How did they approach Christ? What was their attitude? Worship.

  • “We have come to worship him.” (verse 2)
  • “They rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.” (verse 10)
  • “They fell down and worshiped him.” (verse 11)
  • “They offered him gifts.” (verse 11).

Rejoicing, they offered him gifts; they fell down before him; they worshiped him.

The verb “worship” in the New Testament is used only of an action directed toward an object that is seen to be Divine. There is only one exception to this in the New Testament, in one parable. Since it is an action that is to be reserved only for Divine Beings, worship is rejected elsewhere by created beings who are not Divine: a man falls in worship before Peter in Acts 10, and Peter tells him – “Get back up! I too am just a man!” John falls in worship before an Angel in Revelation 19, and the Angel tells him – “You must not do that! I’m a fellow servant too. … Worship God.”

Worship God. To worship anything other than God is to commit idolatry.

Two chapters after the story of the Wise Men in Matthew’s gospel, Jesus is in the wilderness, being tempted ty Satan. Satan shows him all the kingdoms of the world and says, “All these I will give you, if you fall down and worship me.” To which, very importantly, Jesus replies: “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve.’” (Matthew 4:10)

Only God is worthy of worship, and we’re commanded to worship Him.

And Matthew, who wrote down Jesus’s words, “You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve,” also wrote, twice, of the wise men explicitly worshiping Jesus.

Only God is worthy of worship, and Jesus is worthy of worship, which means Jesus is God.

Jesus is worthy of worship, so don’t neglect to worship Jesus this Christmas. Make it a goal this Christmas season to grow in your worship of Jesus.

Worship Jesus individually.

  • Use this season as a time to grow in your personal devotional life.
  • Pick up an Advent devotional book (like Joy to the World by Charles Spurgeon, or Come, Let Us Adore Him by Paul Tripp);
  • Carve out some free time to read longer sections of Scripture;
  • Memorize a key verse on the incarnation of Jesus Christ or his work on your behalf.

Worship Jesus as a family.

  • Use an Advent devotional book designed for families (like The 25 Days of Christmas by James Merritt, or Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room by Nancy Guthrie);
  • Begin a tradition of using a family Advent wreath (you can find some on Amazon, or simply set out three purple candles, one pink candle, and one white candle, and light the same candles at home that we’re lighting during our Advent services at Mountain Creek as a part of your family devotional time);
  • Read through the birth accounts from the gospels, or the well-known promises from the prophets;
  • Sing Christmas carols together around the dinner table after your meals.

Worship him with the church.

  • Whether you’re at home due to Covid concerns or you have rejoined us in person, don’t neglect to worship Christ with his people this Christmas season. Make that a weekly priority on the Lord’s Day for you and your family.
  • Join us also on Christmas Eve at 5:00 p.m. for our Candlelight Service as we sing Christmas carols and hear the gospel story of the birth of Jesus Christ.

Jesus is worthy of worship, so don’t forget Christ, but worship Him this Christmas.

Bert Watts has served since December 2016 as the Senior Pastor at Mountain Creek Baptist Church, where he has been on staff since 2012.

Photo by Dan Kiefer on Unsplash