December 4, 2013
The Most Important Christmas Choice
"Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.'" Luke 2:13-14 (NLT)
Tis' the season to be merry... and stressed. Although it should be a season of peace, this month can often make us feel more tangled up inside than a messy string of Christmas lights.
Some people dread the hustle, bustle, and emotional rustle this time of year brings, knowing that irritability, loneliness, or depression will threaten. While there are others who may love the Christmas season, but worry, busyness, family conflicts, and unmet expectations take their toll.
In either case, we have a decision. We can choose to get bogged down with stress or we can choose to bow down in worship.
Scripture gives us a beautiful picture of praise in Luke 2:13-14. When Jesus was born, an angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds sharing the good news. Then many other angels joined together and praised God.
"Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.'" (NLT)
That's not the only place the Bible records angels worshipping the Lord. In Hebrews 1:6 it says, "And when he brought his supreme Son into the world, God said, 'Let all of God's angels worship him.'" (NLT) And Revelation 5:11-12a says, "Then I looked again, and I heard the voices of thousands and millions of angels around the throne and of the living beings and the elders. And they sang in a mighty chorus." (NLT)
Angels serve as role models of worship. They bow down before Jesus. They shout with incredible joy as they sing songs of praise. Through worship, angels spread the news of God's glory and exhibit holy reverence. Angels intentionally and deliberately spend time praising God.
Keeping Christ in Christmas is more than just a cliché. It is an intentional act of worship. It requires a heart of adoration, much like the angels had. When Jesus is the focus of our holiday, we're centered on His love, peace, and joy.
This prompts us to be His hands and feet to others in need. When worship fills our hearts, it leaves little room for aggravation in long lines at the store. We focus on what Christmas is truly about—the amazing gift of a Savior—rather than stressing out over buying the perfect presents. We exhibit grace to someone when we'd rather do otherwise. Worship turns our attention to giving thanks to Jesus for all He has done, rather than letting stress strip His joy from our hearts.
And it might even mean joining in with the heavenly chorus to sing praises to Him, even if we can't carry a tune!
The holidays can bring a flurry of heightened emotions and can often result in an unhealthy level of stress which can prevent us from engaging in worship and praising the One we are supposed to be celebrating.
There will be lots of choices to be made during the month of December: where to serve, what gifts to buy, and how many events to attend. The most important choice we can make is to worship and sing praises to our Lord. For His gift. For His love. For His peace.
And when our hearts are at peace, our holidays can be too.
Lord, I choose to intentionally worship and praise You during this Christmas season. Help me stay focused on You and Your goodness. Amen.
Stressed-Less Living: Finding God's Peace In Your Chaotic World by Tracie Miles is a wonderful resource about peace and eliminating chronic stress. Order before December 20th to receive a signed copy!
Avoid seasonal stress and make Christ the center of your holiday this year with practical tips from Tracie. Sign up for her "Managing Holiday Stress" Conference Call series by clicking here. And don't miss out on the LIVE Facebook holiday party. Join the fun by clicking here!
Encouragement for Today: Devotionals for Everyday Living by the Proverbs 31 Ministries team.
Reflect and Respond:
Pick a praise song that you will commit to sing to the Lord this Christmas season as a way to intentionally focus on worshipping Him.
How have you allowed the emotions of the season to distract you from worship?
Psalm 148:2, "Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his heavenly hosts." (NIV)
© 2013 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105