HH, Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div
Christmas and gift-giving. The two have always been associated with each other for good reason. The magi gave Jesus the gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. The shepherds gave Jesus the gift of their time and belief. Mary gave Jesus the gift of her womb. The offerings seem practical. The wise men’s treasures could be used to fund the family’s escape to Egypt. The shepherds’ visitation would keep the family company. Mary’s womb would protect the growing child. But there is one gift that might appear a bit curious.
The angels’ gift of worship.
Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others and the armies of Heaven — praising God:
“Glory to God in the highest Heaven,” they sang, “and peace on earth for all those pleasing Him.”
When this great army of angels had returned again to Heaven, the shepherds said to each other,
Come on! Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this wonderful thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about. — Luke 2:13-15
The angels filled the night with light and the air with music, and, well, that’s it. They worshipped. Couldn’t they have done something more useful? Mary could have used a bed. Joseph would have benefited from an angelic escort back to Nazareth. Baby Jesus needed a bassinet.
These were angels. Didn’t they know better?
Then again, these were angels. Who knew Jesus better than they? Those who knew Jesus best-loved Him dearest. Those who had followed Him the longest gave Him the gift of worship. They placed their love on a pillow of praise and presented it to Jesus. They did that night. They do so still. Heaven at this very moment reverberates with loud corporate worship.
Day and night they never stop saying: ‘Holy, holy, holy’. — Revelation 4:8
I do not know where the word “worship” came from, but I know it means. “To worship, then, is to ascribe worth to someone or something.”
Worship happens anytime you turn your heart toward Heaven and say, “You are worthy.” When you clear your calendar for prayer, turn the radio dial to praise music, or use your morning jog to recite Bible verses or your lunch break to meditate, this is worship. Just saying “Hallelujah” you are worshipping God.
Worship happens in neighbourhoods, in living rooms, in open pastures. And, yes, worship happens in churches. When the people of God make a public and plural declaration of God’s goodness, worship is happening.
God is on the hunt for those who will imitate the angels, for people who will open their hearts and mouths and declare, “Glory to God in the highest Heaven.”
The Father… is actively seeking such people to worship Him. — John 4:23
Perhaps you are wondering, But what if I don’t worship?
Oh, but you will. The question is not, will you worship? The question is, where will you direct your worship? We all worship someone or something. We can conclude that we look forward to many things during this season. As a child, we wanted special gifts and we would have been of best behaviour throughout the year expecting to receive the coveted gift at Christmas. At that time disappointment can step in and then the real character that was covered up all year will be uncovered.
What about you?
- You were counting on that career to carry you, deliver you, entertain you, and fulfil you. But it hasn’t.
- You were counting on that marriage to carry you, deliver you, entertain you, and fulfil you. But it didn’t.
- You were counting on that retirement to carry you, deliver you, entertain you, and fulfil you. But it hasn’t.
- You were counting on that education to carry you, deliver you, entertain you, and fulfil you. But it didn’t.
- You were counting on that body to carry you, deliver you, entertain you, and fulfil you. But it hasn’t.
Worship might not be the word you’ve used to describe your passion, yet the term fits. Anytime we trust an object or activity to give us life and meaning, we worship it.
When we make good things the ultimate things, we set ourselves up for disappointment. I hope that we do not find ourselves in that position this holiday season, but rather we come out in some Praise and Worship.
If we depend on a career or relationship to give our lives meaning, what happens when retirement comes or the relationship ends? The list of impostor gods includes sex, food, money, alcohol, success, and influence. In the correct dosage and context, these can be wonderful gifts from God. But they are dismal substitutes for God. To worship them is to be satisfied, then brokenhearted. Infatuated, then discouraged. Enthralled, then angry.
God-centred worship rescues us from false gods who never deliver on their promises. Worship does to the soul what a spring rain does to a thirsty field. It soaks down, seeps in, and stirs life.
- Are you stressed? Worship God, who could store the universe in His pocket and the oceans in an eyedropper.
- Are you ashamed? Worship Jesus, whose love never fades.
- Are you bereaved? Open your heart to your Shepherd. He will lead you through the valley of sorrow.
- Do you feel small? A few moments in front of the throne of your loving King will evaporate any sense of insignificance.
Worship works wonders.
For your own sake do what the angels did: make a big deal about the arrival of the King.
Give Jesus the gift the angels gave Him, the gift of praise.
Take the robe of grace, soar on wings of faith, and take your place in the heavenly chorus and sing, “Glory to God in the highest.” During this season I am encouraging you to do some Praise and Worship to God and remember that there is no child in the cradle, but the Son of God is sitting on the right hand of our Father in Heaven. This season ask and you shall receive. Let peace reigns in the hearts of our fellow men and women. May Almighty God bless the Clergy and members of The Mystical Order and Starlight of Israel. May God bless St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago and wherever this message is read.