It’s a crazy feeling and honestly, it’s somewhat surreal. For the first time in 6 years, I am not on staff at a church preparing for the Christmas season. I’m not feverishly organizing chord charts for carols, putting together stage layouts for a children’s Christmas program, or anticipating a busy night of services on Christmas Eve. You see, this was my life for the past several years as I was on staff as a worship pastor in a local church. If you are new to this blog at all, my journey this year has brought me out from full-time vocational ministry and back into the “real world” where I navigate between my calling still as a worship leader, songwriter, and my day job of pharmacist. Here is a blog to catch up if you have time and want to do some additional reading: A New Season
Christmas and Easter are the mother of all holidays when you are working in church ministry. Nothing is bigger in the calendar year and both dates come with their own workload and stress. My wife and I were both on staff at our church and often we realized we came to almost dread these special seasons. Not that we didn’t like them but because so many times we got caught up in the busyness. I would sometimes wonder if we were simply missing the point at times. Here we were, trying to point others to Christ but not purposely taking the time ourselves to look to Him and to once again stand in awe and wonder.
I would like to say that I very much enjoyed my tenure of the last several years working at a church and none of this negates that fact. But as I come once again into the holiday season, the same temptation is there to “miss it.” To do nothing with the story of Christ’s advent. To glance at the Nativity scene and the baby lying in the manger and do nothing. Feel nothing. And be ok with it.
I’m compelled to read the account of the shepherds in Luke 2 and have my heart stirred once again. What makes the shepherd’s story so powerful to me is that they were just ordinary guys. But God chose to reveal Himself to them. The shepherds had a choice when confronted with the news the angels proclaimed: they could either go back to business as usual or they could investigate this matter in person. Luke 2:15 reveals their decision. In haste and expectation they chose to go see the Christ-child:
When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” Luke 2:15
I can gain a lot from observing those shepherds. It’s that mentality and boldness that I want to display in my heart this Christmas and every Christmas. To drop everything and worship. In that moment, nothing else matters. The shepherds realize this and are stirred to go. There is no hint of hesitation among them. There’s no second-guessing. It’s all-in. It’s all about Jesus.
Christmas is a time to realign and recenter ourselves. It just so happens the turn of the calendar follows soon after, so it’s a good time to reevaluate and determine in our hearts where our lives are headed. I believe it’s the time we must ask ourselves the question, “What do I do with Jesus…what do I do with the baby in the manger?” One response can be ignoring the question altogther; going about our lives and getting caught up in whatever seems most important on our holiday to-do list. We can put time into things that might seem ok (even church, family, or friends) but still lose our focus on Christ.
The other option is to take a cue from the shepherds and “see this thing that has happened.” Worship is about seeing a glimpse of God’s glory. To turn to Jesus in the midst of the noise of our lives and drop it all just to view Him. There is nothing that compares to the weight of His glory. Nothing else comes close.
I’m asking us today to do something that might sound crazy this Christmas season. In the few days we have left, will you carve out time to simply be quiet, reflect, and worship? Maybe it’s early in the morning before everyone else in the house gets up. Maybe it’s late at night after all are in bed. Maybe it’s on your lunch break. Wherever it is doesn’t matter. What does matter is the attitude of your heart as you say once again, “Jesus You are King. And I am Yours.” Don’t let this time go by without making His presence a priority. It’s ok to drop everything and worship. In fact, I wholeheartedly recommend it!
I love you guys! Be blessed as you encounter Christ during this season.
I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them. Luke 2:20