It is amazing how differently Christmas is celebrated all around the world. In many places on the continent of Africa, families do not have resources with which to give gifts. So they gather together for marathon length nativity plays. They start with creation and end with the story of Herod killing off the babies.
The people in Argentina and the island nation of Sri Lanka both celebrate with fireworks everywhere.
In Serbia, the first person to enter a home on Christmas morning is called a “polaznik.” It is believed that he or she brings good luck to that household. If that doesn’t prove to be true throughout the year, they are not invited back the following Christmas!
In Japan, they enjoy a special Christmas cake. It is not a fruitcake but one made of strawberries and whipped cream. (Special note: the shortcake emoji is actually a Japanese Christmas cake.)
But no matter how the day is celebrated, the entire world has to acknowledge that it is a day on the calendar that commemorates the birth of Christ. Matthew chapter one and Luke chapter two tell the story.
This year I happened to notice a sequence that I have glossed over all these years. In Matthew’s account, he says that when the wise men got to the house, “they bowed down and worshipped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts…”
The acts of worship came first. The gifts from their treasures came second.
I am wondering if that is the order of things in our lives this year? Maybe this week is a great time to ignore the hustle, bows and glitter and spend some serious time just worshipping the newborn King.
Remembering that He came to die, let’s praise God for the gift of Jesus. Let’s praise God for the presence of His Spirit. Our comforter abides in our hearts through the good and the not so good.
Let’s praise Him for His word. Without the scriptures we would lack “true north” and wander through life rather aimlessly.
Let’s praise Him, at home and in the car. Let’s praise Him with music and a quiet heart. Let’s praise Him with friends and alone at the beach. Let’s praise Him before meals and as the sun comes up.
Let’s bow down and worship, and then do all the other things this week!