Faith and Family

Jones: Christmas Worship

By Lynn Jones

At the first Christmas, the wise men came in search of Jesus. They asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him” (Matt. 2:2).

I am grateful that they came to worship him! Not everyone does that at this season of the year.

Lynn Jones

I heard about a church member who came to see a special program at the church in which the children were portraying the nativity scene. The man stood to one side of the sanctuary near a window with his phone, recording the entire thing. He became so engrossed in the story that he forgot about a candle burning in the window and got too close to it. The people smelled something burning and discovered that the man’s coat had caught fire on the back. Some alert members sitting nearby helped put out the fire before he suffered any injury.

When the program was over, the pastor went by to visit the man. After he was assured that the man was all right, the pastor said, “Well, I’ll tell you one thing—it’s good to see somebody during the Christmas season who is on fire for the Lord.”

That’s why I am thankful for the wise men at that first Christmas. There were people in Bethlehem who were completely insensitive to the coming of Christ. They had no interest in worship. But these Magi, in the midst of that indifference, came to worship Christ. “When they came into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down and worshiped him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts—gold, frankincense, and myrrh” (Matt. 2:11).

Gold, frankincense, and myrrh were costly gifts—gifts that involved genuine sacrifice and self-giving. That is always at the heart of genuine worship.

In a small church in Hazard, Kentucky, Karen Campbell’s four-year-old nephew, Andrew, was playing the part of a wise man in their annual Christmas program. During the program, the wise men were to come down the aisle bearing their gifts, and when they got to the manger, they were to give their gifts to baby Jesus.

The night of the big program came. The church was filled with proud, and slightly nervous, parents and relatives. Andrew and two other unlikely-looking wise men came slowly down the aisle, bearing their gifts. As they came to the manger, Mary reached out to take the gift from Andrew, but he resisted giving it to her. The girl decided to take it from him, and the two engaged in a struggle over the gift. 

Meanwhile, off stage, the director was saying in a frantic voice, “Give the gift to Mary. Give the gift to Mary.” Finally, reluctantly, Andrew handed the gift to Mary. But as he did so, he said, “Okay, but make sure that Jesus gets the gift.”

There are many things tugging at you this Christmas season. They will be asking for your time, your energies, and your money. You will be sharing your attention and your love in many different directions. But here is what you need to do with your love and devotion this Christmas season: Make sure that Jesus gets it.

The wise men “saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him.” We need to do the same this Christmas season.

Lynn Jones is a retired pastor who lives in Oxford. He does supply preaching for churches in his area and often serves as an interim pastor. Jones is also an author, has written two books and writes a weekly newspaper column. He may be contacted at: 

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