Don’t Miss Christmas – How to worship the Savior
There are so many things to enjoy during the holiday season. From decorating to giving and receiving gifts, baking cookies, and going to parties, December is a busy month. In the midst of the busyness, you may not get the time you want to focus on the most important part of Christmas — worshiping the Savior. In this message, we look at the story of the three wise men to show what worship is and how you can do it. You’ll learn six ways you can worship Jesus this Christmas.
Something to talk about:
- Start with a sincere desire: It may sound too simple to say but if you don’t want to worship you’re not going to worship but that’s the way it is. You have to want it. Worship is not going to burst into the front door of your life. You’ve got to go to His front door. Just like the three wise men went to meet with Him. The Magi heard that there was a king to be born, a special king. They came not just to see Him but to worship Him. And they came all the way from the east. It’s this journey of months and months, a very expensive, costly journey to walk all the way from the east to see this new king indicates more than just some intellectual curiosity. These guys were hungry to see this. They wanted to see this. When you think of worship, one of the parts of worship is this desire, this wanting it.
- Develop an expectant spirit: Expect God to show up. This is the faith factor. There’s something about it…. God can surprise us and work above our expectations. But there’s something about your faith, there’s something about your expectation that causes God to work in powerful ways. When you expect to meet God in worship you tend to meet God in worship. When the Maji showed up they expected to find Jesus and they expected to worship. There’s a great lesson in that. There’s something about you spending just a few minutes on the way into a worship service expecting Jesus to show up in your life, that can make all the difference in the world: Expect God to be there.
- Choose to express joy: Joy doesn’t accidentally happen. Joy happens when I make a choice. I make a choice to trust God. These wise men in Matthew 2:10, “When they saw the star, they were filled with joy!” They didn’t just have joy. They expressed it. Happiness is an emotion that comes and goes, as it is based on our changing circumstances. When life is going our way, it’s easy to feel happy, but when situations don’t go as planned, we often find ourselves unhappy, discouraged, or even angry. Joy is a choice. When we choose joy, we can have a joyful heart in even the most challenging of circumstances. In addition, when we find our joy in Christ, He will provide us with the strength we need to live joyfully.
- Decide to humble yourself: It’s quite a moment in history when these men, these wise men from the east, show up in Bethlehem and bow before a baby. Matthew 2:11 says, “they entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him.” They recognized they were in the presence of someone greater so they couldn’t help it. They bowed down. Worship is when we recognize that we’re in the presence of someone greater. So much greater you can’t even comprehend how much greater. We don’t just spend time in His presence when we’re here in a worship service at church. We are constantly in the presence of the greatness of God. That is a very humbling thought.
- Plan to give gifts: You plan to give gifts. The most famous thing about these three wise men is they gave three gifts. These three gifts are famous because they were part of the worship in their lives. Worship is not just taking in. Worship is also given out. It’s also taking action. In worship, we receive from God but we also give back to God and others. So in Matthew 2:11, the Bible says, “Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” This Christmas we could give ourselves to Him. He made you to be in a relationship with Him. So when you give Him your choice, when you give Him your love, when you give Him your devotion, that’s the greatest gift of all. So when we think about how we worship, ask yourself a question: What gift would you like to give Jesus this Christmas?
- End with an obedient response: The Magi met with God, God told them what to do next and then they did what God told them to do. It often happens that God tells us what to do next. Worship happens when we do what God told us to do. The Bible says in Matthew 2:12, “When it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod.” Notice that: They went back by another route. Here’s something about worship: Worship often changes the route of your life, and changes the direction of your life. You come in one way and you go out another way. It happens to me all the time. I come in and I’m on the selfish route. Just thinking about myself. Something happens in worship and I get changed over to the serving route.
- Read Matthew 2:1-12 out loud. What evidence do you have that the Magi had a sincere desire to find the newborn King?
- What do the wise men teach us about worshiping Jesus?
- Note once again God’s sovereign control over all these events in order to accomplish His will. Here we see God directing the Magi to His Son and then warning them to avoid Herod on their return to their land. Why do you think God sent the Magi to worship the Child?
- Put yourself in the shoes of the Magi the moment they came upon the baby Jesus. Cognitively, what thoughts are crossing your mind? Physically, how did that moment feel in your body? What emotions are you experiencing? Capture that experience in a prayer of thanksgiving.
- “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” Matthew 2:2 (NASB) In the verse above, the Magi expected the King of the Jews to be there. How can you prepare your heart and develop an expectant spirit to worship the Savior?
- How do the Magi react when they find the Child? Do their actions provide an example for us concerning our worship? Explain.
- The wise men showed up to worship the new King, and they came bearing gifts. What gifts do you bring to God in worship?
- Reflect back on your own life and share an experience of faith that led you or someone you know to a humbling connection with God.
- What part of the message resonated with you? Any particular applications you took from today’s message?
Take one thing home with you:
What does Christmas mean to you? Times with family and friends? Perhaps carols, cards, television specials? Maybe hectic shopping, family get-togethers around the fireplace, and decorating the tree? All these and more are part of Christmas in America, but a far cry from the first Christmas in Bethlehem. It was a simple scene that first Christmas – a rough room, a young couple, and nothing but a manger to put baby Jesus in. It was probably cold. Joseph and Mary had no support since the family was far away. Not exactly the Hallmark moment we like to show in Christmas pageants. And yet this simple scene marked the greatest event in the history of humankind.
God’s Son became man and came to earth to save us. God had promised to send a Messiah, one who would save His people. He could have easily burst on the scene as a full-grown man, a seven-foot warrior with fiery eyes and arms of steel. Or He could have been a mighty king or a hero. No doubt this is what most people were expecting. But that was not God’s plan. The Messiah came as a whisper, a very small package, wrapped in rags, given from the heart of God; the perfect gift.