I don’t even remember what I was upset about, all I remember was feeling exhausted, tired of my kids not listening but also frustrated with myself for yelling at them too much. My head in my hands, I rubbed my eyes and looked up to see the “let’s worship” phrase I, myself, had written in huge letters on our kitchen chalkboard.
Good job, Jen.
It was a theme I had been seeing over and over, and the simplicity of focusing solely on worship seemed appropriate for the craziness of the Christmas season. Yet, as grand of an idea as it was to declare the joy of worship over my family for the month of December, it looked like I was the one who needed to refocus the most.
I was trying – I wanted my parenting to be worship, but I found myself depleted. I wanted my quiet time to be worship, but between a newborn and sick kids, claiming time that was quiet while I was also awake was nearly impossible. I wanted all sorts of things to be my worship, but something was just not measuring up.
I continued doing my best, plugging away at advent devotionals when, after 5 days of reading the same scripture, I finally recognized it:
On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. – Matthew 2:11
The wise men knew.
They came before Jesus and the first thing they did was bow down, and then they gave their gifts. All month I had been wanting my gifts to be my worship – gifting God my decision to parent his way, gifting God my time in his Word, gifting God whatever I could, when I was missing the more important thing of first bowing down, of first praising my Savior. Jesus.
Behavior and choices can be a form of worship, a way of showing God that we believe he is worthy. But if our actions aren’t following an initial position of reverence to our creator, confessing him as Lord, celebrating what he’s done, then presenting our gifts can feel more like a duty than a joyful offering.
So as we jump into a new year and a new decade, let us follow in the example of these men. For they understood who Jesus was and bowed down before him in worship because of it. And then, after praising him as king, they presented him gifts. Let us do the same.
Read: Psalm 100
For me, worship begins with remembering who God is and praising him for it. What are some things this Psalm tell us about who God is?
Throughout scripture, we’re also instructed to be grateful. Spend some time thanking God for who he is and what he’s done.
The Psalm starts by instructing us to come to the Lord with joy and gladness. How does that compare with how you have been coming to him? How does it affect the way you approach God when you remember who he is and what he has done?
Psalm 95: 1-7
Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.
For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods… Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.