December 23, 2014

The Sacrifice of Worship

Matthew 2:7-12

They saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him.
—Matthew 2:11


The scholars from the east went to great lengths to find what God was doing. They weren’t satisfied with merely getting close to Bethlehem; they came to worship and to honor Jesus as well.

They had many opportunities to cut short their pursuit. They could have simply noted that a new star appeared in the skies and never packed their bags to take a journey. Or, after arriving in Judea, they could have held back from asking about a new king. Or, upon seeing the child in Bethlehem, they could have just basked in the satisfaction that their adventure was complete.

But their mission was more than a sightseeing trip. The Magi had come to worship. So they presented their gifts to Mary and bowed down to worship Jesus. And in this they became more than observers. They became participants in God’s plan as they helped to protect the child from harm and left without telling Herod about him.

The many activities of the Christmas season can distract us from worshiping the King. We can focus so much on decorations, gifts, family gatherings, and other parties that we miss the main thing. By taking time to worship and honor Jesus, we become more than mere observers of what happened long ago. We can participate in continuing the work God began in sending his Son.

Lord Jesus, give me the clarity to realize that my deepest longings can be satisfied only by your presence. In your name, Amen.

About the author — Bill Sytsma

Bill Sytsma is a graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary (M.Div) and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (D.Min). He is the author of the book Follow the Leader and is serving as the pastor of New Life Christian Reformed Church in Highland, Indiana. He and his wife, Staci, have hosted support groups for families built through adoption. He and Staci are the proud parents of three active boys: Luke, Isaac, and Nico.

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