The Christmas season is full of things to do, food to eat, and traditions to maintain. It’s easy to get distracted by the busyness of the holiday.
On a normal year, people are spending their time baking all the sweets, shopping for and wrapping gifts, and decorating their houses.
This year, with all of the heartache and hinderances, I saw so many people posting that they had started decorating early, in November, before Thanksgiving. All of that to try to help bring in a little more joy.
Everything has been tossed upside down. 2020 has been a nightmare — financially, racially, with COVID, the election, etc. What is going to happen next year is unknown. There is no promise that 2021 is going to be any better.
So, how should we react to a difficult year? What if our response wasn’t merely attempting to cover up the pain, but to view God in light of who He is in all His goodness and then respond accordingly? Christmas is our opportunity to get re-centered on what’s important. And that’s worshiping God. Regardless of what our circumstances look like, God is always good, and He is always worthy of our praise.
There are various ways to worship God, but even more than doing things to show Him worship, let’s posture ourselves to live a life of worship.
Walking in the favor of God can stir up a worshipful response in people around you. If we look at the story of Mary in Luke 1, we see that she was humble, available, and grateful. Her life was an example of worship, and viewing God’s favor on her life should prompt us to also respond with a heart of praise to the Father.
When the angel came to Mary to share with her that she would become pregnant, she replied, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” (Luke 1:34). If you walk in humility and are truly connecting with God through prayer, your life will be unexplainable, much like Mary being pregnant without being with a man. True worship submits to God with humility.
True worship is also being available to God. In Luke 1:38, Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” She was available to allow God to move in her life, and because of that, not only was she favored, but the Savior of the world entered the earth to bring the good news. What do you have to do to be available to God? Simply show up. Allow Him access to your body, mouth, house, and finances. Make all of it available to Him.
True worship is being grateful in all circumstances. Nobody would believe Mary’s situation. She could have said no and walked away in fear because of what could have happened to her. Yet she responded to God with singing and worship!
Are you grateful regardless of what your circumstances look like? I know it’s much easier said than done, but when we change our perspective away from negativity and respond in thankfulness, things shift. Our situation might not be any different, but our outlook will be. This attitude of gratefulness is honoring to God.
When you worship God, you’re in the presence of God. My prayer for you this Christmas is that you would not view the holiday and commercialization and eggnog and presents as what will get you through to the end of 2020, but that it would be the presence of God.
Miles McPherson is the Senior Pastor of the Rock Church in San Diego. He is also a motivational speaker and author. McPherson's latest book “The Third Option” speaks out about the pervasive racial divisions in today’s culture and argues that we must learn to see people not by the color of their skin, but as God sees them—humans created in the image of God.