Monday, November 26, 2012

A teenager’s worship experience

Advent Conspiracy is a concept developed by three pastors who have challenged hundreds of churches to take a step back from the consumer culture that dominates the celebration of Christmas and instead seek to make a real difference as we focus on the arrival of Jesus into our world. The four themes of AC are Worship Fully, Spend Less, Give More, and Love All. I want to share a few thoughts from this message series over the next few weeks leading up to Christmas Day. Today let’s begin thinking about worshiping fully as we celebrate Christmas.

Christmas should be the easiest time of the year for Christians to truly worship God, but because of all the distractions, it may actually be the hardest. So just what do we worship at Christmastime? We want to say “Jesus,” right? But that would be the “Sunday School” answer – you know, the answer that we know is the “right” answer, but not the real answer. I read where someone said, “We spend our time and energy on what matters most to us.” So what does our time, money and energy say about who or what we really worship? Advent Conspiracy is a call to come and truly worship Jesus – God who became flesh – no matter how strong the cultural pull to worship anything or everything else. When we look at the Christmas Story, we realize that nearly everyone who was confronted with the birth of Jesus had the same response: worship. Let’s take a look at the worship that resulted in the lives of some of those people.

In the first chapter of Luke, the Bible tells the story of a young girl named Mary who was chosen by God to miraculously give birth to Jesus, who would be called the Son of God. After asking the angel Gabriel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” her amazing response was, “May it be to me as you have said.” Then when she went to visit her relative, Elizabeth, who would soon give birth to John the Baptist, Mary breaks out into spontaneous worship. Her words recorded in Scripture have become known as Mary’s Song, or The Magnificat. Her outbreak of worship begins with the words, “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!” I invite you read her words in Luke 1:46-55. Mary sang of her state as God’s humble servant, yet she realized that God was mindful of her. She celebrated the fact that she would be called “blessed because the Mighty One has done great things for me, holy is his name.” She reminds us all that God is merciful to all who fear him and that he will fulfill his promises to Israel.

What an amazing display of worship from a young girl in her teens living in a seemingly insignificant place on the far edge of the Roman Empire. The most significant thing in her life so far was her upcoming marriage to a young carpenter – and she must have wondered if that was in jeopardy because of this baby she was now carrying. Yet when faced with something strange and amazing which God was doing, she chose to worship.

This Christmas season, I choose to worship. Will you?

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