December 18.  “JESUS: Our Reason to Slow Down and Truly Worship

“So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe who was lying in a manger.”  Luke 2:16 

Be quick about slowing down.  No, this is not a contradiction; this is a perfect application of the first Christmas night. We are told that after thousands upon thousands of angels demonstrated Heaven’s glory, the shepherds hurried off and found Mary, Joseph, and the baby.  Now, it most certainly stands to reason that something about thousands of angels filling the night with song would make anyone want to hurry off; but the shepherds were “hurried off” with a divine purpose.  In haste, the shepherds found baby Jesus. 

As one considers the movement of the shepherds that night, note the following: (1) they were moved from the silent hillside with angelic singing; (2) they rushed to Bethlehem to find the baby; (3) having seen the baby they departed to spread the news; (4) they returned praising God for all that they had heard and seen.  Considering the shepherds activity that night, consider that they rushed in and rushed out, but returned in worship. 

How often we rush in and rush out.  We sometimes awaken to rush through a prayer and a verse or two before we begin our day.  We often rush into a worship service and bible study only to rush out for the next thing on our schedule.  Have you noticed that many of us are held captive by the tyranny of the next?  And, for many of us, the demanding schedules seem unavoidable.  There are times we mistakenly fill our schedules without margins, and consequently stress ensues.  Also, there are times that our culture – with many necessary obligations – orders our steps for us. (In this way, we have not necessarily caused the busyness, but have simply become a product of our culture.)  Either way, the tyranny of the next holds us hostage from the peace and quietness we so desperately need.  How is this remedied? 

Take a cue from the shepherds. They rushed in; they rushed out. But, they returned in praise and worship.  They came with haste to see Jesus; they left to announce His birth.  But, they eventually returned to worship. One writer has referenced this as the spirit of doxology. (We saw the same spirit in the 72 disciples who returned with joy after preaching – Luke 10:17).   While we cannot be certain to where the shepherds returned – to the manger, or back to the hillsides – we do know this: they returned in a spirit of doxology.  Their souls were held captive by the experience with Jesus more than by the tyranny of the next.  So, this Advent season, slow down and ask God to give you a spirit of doxology – a spirit of praise and worship.  In your comings and goings, as you rush in and rush out, pause and really think about the magnitude of the night Jesus was born.  Consider the immense glory and honor that should never fade from our response to Jesus.  Pause and give thanks and praise to God for giving us His Son Jesus Christ.  Slow down long enough to develop a spirit of doxology.  It could change your life, and your Christmas. 

This is a spirit of doxology.  This is Christmas.  This is Jesus.  

READ: Today, read Luke 2:15-20 and consider how you and your home might better develop a spirit of praise and worship this Christmas Season.

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