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Our Response to Christ’s Advent

Gift exchanges, holiday feasts, time with family–there is nothing wrong with enjoying these Christmas traditions. But in the midst of so much activity, it can be difficult to find time to ponder and celebrate the spiritual significance of our Lord’s birth.

The wise men recognized that Jesus was the promised Messiah. In adoration, they bowed before the infant King and offered Him gifts of great value. Although we can’t kneel in His physical presence or hand gifts to Him directly, we can display the same spirit of worship the magi had.

Let’s look at five important aspects of worship:

1. Adoration

Scripture tells us there was nothing about Jesus’ outward appearance that indicated His holy nature (Phil. 2:8). As a young child, he would have looked like other children. Yet the shepherds and magi worshiped Him.

  • Explain why each group worshiped Jesus:

Shepherds (Luke 2:8-16, 20):

Magi (Matt. 2:2, 9-11):

  • What motivates you to worship Christ?

In the midst of the busyness of this season, it’s easy to let activities–even good ones–crowd out the celebration of Jesus’ birth. You may find it helpful to set aside time for individual or family worship, even marking it on the calendar.

  • What do you typically do to include worship in your Christmas celebration?
  • What else might you do this year to celebrate the spiritual significance of this holiday?

2. Humility

The magi were probably wealthy, influential men who were respected and honored in their homeland. However, they willingly bowed before the Christ child, despite the humble home where He lived with Mary and Joseph. We, too, must set aside our pride and self-importance to worship God.

  • Why should we bow our knees not only to God the Father, but also to Jesus? (Each verse below gives at least one reason.)

John 5:23

Philippians 2:9-10

Matthew 28:19-20

Revelation 5:22

By worshiping Jesus, we admit that no matter how important our lives seem to us, only He deserves our complete reverence and adoration. This Christmas, make a special effort to honor the Lord for who He is.

3. Gratitude

Reflecting on the birth of Christ should fill us with thanksgiving. Why? Jesus had to be born before He could die for our sins and be resurrected.

  • God could have sent Jesus as a fully grown man. Why was it important for Him to be born (Gal. 4:4-5)?
  • Think about the benefits* you have received or will receive in eternity because Christ defeated death on the cross. Write a few of them here:

*See Galatians 3:13; John 10:10; 2 Thessalonians 3:3; Ephesians 1:11; 1 Peter 2:24; and Philippians 4:7 for a few suggestions (if needed).

4. Intimacy

We need to be honest and vulnerable with God in order to experience the fullness of worship.  Only when there are no secrets with Him can intimacy thrive.

  • Why should we be honest with the Lord (Heb. 4:13)?
  • Are you usually open with God about your fears, doubts, anger, and secret sins? Why or why not?
  • Have you found the concept in James 4:8 to be true in your life? Explain.

Whether in the midst of a church service or during your one-on-one time with God, make a special effort to draw near to God this Christmas season.

5. Commitment

True worship is more than singing songs, praying, or participating in a church service.

  • How does worship, or fixing our eyes on Jesus, help us weather the storms of life (Heb. 12:1-3)?

Christmas, with the new year right on its heels, is a great time to re-evaluate your life. Ask God what He wants you to do in the upcoming year. Purge yourself from any unfruitful activities or bad habits, and recommit to following Him no matter what.

That type of dedication is indicated in Jesus’ statement: “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me” (Luke 9:23).

  • In the first century, the cross represented death. How do you think the disciples originally reacted to Jesus’ statement in Luke 9:23?
  • What in your life needs to be put to death on the cross?

Closing: This Christmas, take time to adore the One who came as a baby, suffered on the cross, and rose from the dead. Draw near to Him and honestly acknowledge your doubts and shortcomings. Recommit to following Him as your first priority. Our merciful, powerful God is worthy to be exalted.

Prayer: Father, thank You for sending Your Son to earth. This Christmas, give me a renewed vision of the significance of Jesus’ birth. I pray that I would connect with Him in an intimate way during the church services I attend. Help me set aside time to worship and adore Him, just as those shepherds and wise men did so long ago. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Copyright 2010 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.