Every Christmas season we hear preachers warn us – watch out, don’t get too busy at Christmas and miss “the real reason for the season”.
However, let’s be honest. Too many of us who work in churches often warn about this danger but we are guilty of the same failing. The necessity of producing memorable Christmas services and finding time to mine Scripture for new nuggets of truth buried in the familiar Christmas story, along with all the shopping and Christmas parties; all these often add up to a lot of stress and little worship. Unintentionally we model the danger we deplore: “Do as I say, not as I do.”
When this happens, the words of A.W. Tozer ring true in our spirits:
Without worship, we go about miserable.
Sensing that Tozer is on target, our unspoken Christmas wish is that the awesome presence of the Christ child will again invade our private lives. We do not want to be paid religious leaders who do not experience what we proclaim! Our silent prayer is that, beyond ministry stresses and schedules, that somehow “joy to the world” will be ours too this season.
However, if this is going to happen, experience tells us that our private time with God needs to be more than going through the motions and glancing at a few Bible verses and offering a routine prayer. We will need to linger long enough in Scripture so that we may absorb the peace and joy that the angels heralded. Like the wisemen of old, we too must take the time to journey to the manager and bow before the babe, and again surrender our ministries to the One we serve. If we do not, our souls will never be enlarged with the awe-filled wonder and joy of the angels who sang “Glory to God in the highest.”
Lord, I want this to be
“the most wonderful time of the year”for me too.
Not because of glimmering tensile, shining lights,
beloved carols, flickering candles or Christmas cheer.
But because your Spirit has touched mine,
and again filled me with wonder and joy.
This glad season may You, the Word who became flesh,
invade this your servant with your majesty, hope and peace;
Dispel any darkness and drear.
As the Savior who saves His people from their sins,
cleanse me and make me white as snow.
With a pure heart, like shepherds of old,
may I herald your good news because, once again,
You were born in me today.