Matthew 2:11 NIV
“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.”
How does Jesus Christ want to be worshipped today?
First of all, Jesus said that if anyone would come after him he must deny self and take up his cross daily (daily die to sin and to self) and follow (obey) him (in his ways and in his truth). For, he said that if we save our lives (of living for sin and self) that we will lose them for eternity. But if for his sake we lose our lives (die with him to sin) we will have life in him (Lu 9:23-26).
Secondly, we read in Romans 12:1-2 that we are to present our bodies (our lives) to God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable (or pleasing) to God, which is our spiritual (or reasonable service of) worship of him. So, we worship Jesus by surrendering our lives to him as living sacrifices to him, holy and pleasing (acceptable) to him.
This means that our lives are now given over to God and he owns us and we are his possession, “his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph 2:10). We belong to him and he is now our master. For Jesus shed his blood for us on that cross to buy us back for God (to redeem us) so that we would now honor God with our bodies (1 Co 6:19-20; cf. 1 Pet 2:24; 2 Co 5:15).
And now we are living holy lives, and holy means to be separate (unlike, different) from the world because we are being made into the likeness of Jesus Christ. It means we don’t live any longer like we did before we believed in Jesus. We no longer live according to the ways of this sinful world, but according to the Spirit of God. And we are no longer enslaved to sin but we are enslaved to Christ and to his righteousness.
[Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 4:17-24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Php 2:12-13; Jn 15:1-11; Gal 5:16-24]
This is what he wants from us in the way of worship. He does not want false accolades. He doesn’t want lip service only. He wants us fully surrendered to him with our lives on his altar, dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus, no longer living for the pleasures of our sinful flesh, but now living to please the Lord Jesus in all that we do and say, in obedient walks of faith.
And what gifts does he want us to bring him?
He also does not want false forms of worship of him, especially ones he did not require or that were created in the minds of humans and/or that are a mixture of pagan worship and false attempts at worshiping God, too. He did not ask for us to make manger scenes showing him as a baby alongside the worship of a false god called Santa (Satan) whose handlers have given him a great number of the attributes and character traits of God.
Just think with me about this for a moment. Here is little Jesus in a manger scene, a helpless baby with no apparent power or influence or words that he can speak, for he is a ceramic baby. And then next to him is big Santa, full of life, talking, singing, and making promises he can’t fulfill (cause he is a false god), talking with the children, making them like him, telling them to send him letters with their requests (kind of like prayers to Jesus).
And who are the children anxiously awaiting his return? It is not the return of Jesus they are anxiously awaiting, but the return of Santa, for Santa will ride through the air on a sleigh and he will deliver presents to all good little boys and girls on a single night, magically appearing inside all their homes while everyone is asleep. This is what children are going to get excited about, not figurines of a helpless, lifeless baby in a manger.
And let me tell you that this is purposeful. When you look at all the parallels between the character of God and this character called “Santa” you can easily see that he was created to be an “anti-christ,” i.e. to be a replacement (a supplanter) of Jesus Christ in the minds and hearts of young children and even some adults, too. And do you think the Lord wants to be celebrated in this way alongside this false god? NO WAY!
In fact, God talked much with his people about how they were trying to combine pagan worship with worship of him, and he told them that was not acceptable to him. They couldn’t drink from the cup of demons and from the cup of the Lord at the same time. Either they worshiped God in truth, in the way that he required, or they didn’t. And it is still the same way today.
If we want to celebrate Jesus Christ, we need to do it in the way that he requires and that is acceptable and pleasing to him, not make up our own forms of worship of him based on pagan traditions and expect him to then be pleased with them, or for us to just assume he is pleased when he is not.
There just is no biblical basis for this worship of Jesus on this holiday called “Christmas.” Jesus is NOT the reason for the season, for if he was, Christmas would not be celebrated in the way that it is. We would have a revival, instead, with people throwing out all their idols, getting rid of most of their movies and games, with people on their knees truly repenting of their sins and honestly making the choice to make Jesus their only God.
And they bowed down and worshiped him.
What does it mean to “bow down”? It means to show respect. It also means to obey, to pledge allegiance, to submit one’s will to someone, and to yield sovereignty to someone, who in this case would be God/Jesus Christ. And this is exactly how Jesus wants to be honored, not with pagan celebrations supposedly in honor of him.
So, if you want to celebrate Jesus Christ and to give him honor, please do it in the way that he requires, for it means nothing to him if you are following a set of human traditions thinking he will be pleased with them, and especially if your lives are not surrendered to him, and especially if you are just living your life to please yourself, and if you are still deliberately and habitually sinning against him in direct defiance to his commands.
Choose today to surrender all to him, to do things his way, not your way, to yield control of your life over to him, to honor him by living holy lives, pleasing to him, no longer under the control of sin but as slaves of righteousness. Choose to walk in obedience to his commands. And please show him respect by searching the Scriptures and by seeking his face with regard to your participation in these yearly pagan celebrations.
There’s a Stirring
By Annie Herring
There’s a stirring deep within me
Could it be my time has come
When I’ll see my gracious savior face to face when all is done
Is that his voice I am hearing?
‘Come away, my precious one’
Is he calling me?
Is he calling me?
I will rise up, rise up
And bow down
And lay my crown
At his wounded feet
Is that His voice I am hearing?
‘Come away, my precious one’
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