Every shiny red bulb we hang on the tree this season is artillery in the greatest conflict of our time. Christmas is a battle. The modern push to secure a salvation that is essentially human in nature – from crisis to solution – demands that Jesus be anything but God and man. The spirit of our age wages war on Christmas at every turn, even as stockings are quietly hung by the chimney with care. Christmas worship can be used by God to help us win this battle within us, and by extension, in the world around us. Here are 3 ways how.
We Are In A Real Battle – For Our Christmas Allegiance
Every philosophy of our age will fight to keep Jesus man at best, and diminish him to the size of our cultural values, political persuasions, and religious upbringings.
Those philosophies will seek to convert us through virtually all the movies, music, and the media of our time (though you and I can and should appreciate the art of much of them).
Every silent battle going as we take in a film in a dark theater, or hum along with Spotify in our kitchen, is an extension of the Christmas battle. We need both awareness that our battle is not “with flesh and blood,” and weapons that secure us in a fight many of us do not know we are in.
Christmas Worship Can Conquer Our Hearts
Christmas worship is a means put in our hands for the gradual conquering of our own hearts – and the hearts of others – by the God of Christmas.
1. Christmas Worship Reminds Us Of The Claim God Has On Our Lives
If Jesus of Nazareth is God at all, he lays claim to the totality of each one of our lives. If he is not, we are free to do as we please and remain the masters of our own politics, preferences, and destinies.
It is this common, serpent-like course of all historic, practical forms of Gnosticism (that’s a longer story) – to make Jesus into our image – that is confronted by the Incarnation.
Immanuel postures himself as either the world’s greatest fallacy – or the world’s essential remedy. There is no middle ground.
Worship reminds us of God’s claim on our lives, and demands a response. When we sing, we pray and say our response. When we break the bread and take the cup, we declare our Christmas allegiance to Jesus.
O come, all ye faithful – to offer yourself again.
2. Christmas Worship Reminds Us The Cure For The Human Condition Is Christ Jesus
Christmas declares the human cure is found in a saving Christ, who then fuels our great acts of human discovery, creativity, justice, enterprise, and philanthropy with Spirit, and meaning, and context.
Those same great acts, expressed without explicit connection to this Christmas cosmology, are full of merit – yet remain proclamations that we can ultimately cheat death and rampant evil ourselves if we just work hard enough.
History proves that our flaws, and the arrogant claims that amplify them, continually prove fatal.
Worship reminds us that Christ Jesus is the cure for the ills of the human heart. We die and create our own little hells, every day, without His love running through our veins. He is the medicine and the medic, purifying us from the toxins of self-hatred, self-absorption, self-dependence, and self-preservation.
It came upon a midnight clear – the cure for the ills of the heart.
3. Christmas Worship Reminds Us That Sweetness Of Life Is Found In Jesus
Have you longed for your life to be “sweet,” through trials and troubles, joys and successes? It is Jesus, the Christ, who must be Immanuel – for or every generation to taste the sweetness of God that can permeate our every day living.
Our daily rescue, our daily peace, is not found in simply applying the healing principles of forgiveness, generosity, kindness, and goodness to our fellow human beings.
Those alone will never deliver the drug addict for a lifetime, restore an estranged father to his children, alter the thinking of family lines for generations to come, or lift a suicidal soul into the ecstasies of divinely bestowed love.
It is the fragrance of Life that accompanies the intervention of Jesus’ Love that does this.
Only the God of Christmas does these things. Only the Lord who becomes man does that. Only Jesus, Immanuel, God with us, is the sweet salvation we all ultimately need. And knowing Him, growing close to Him in worship, produces a healing antidote in our lives that daily counteracts the acid rain of self-doubt and shields us from the wear of abrasive ways of relating to others.
Christmas is the declaration that the perfume of God’s presence is eternally penetrating, permeating, and prolific. That sweet salvation has come for all – for you, for me, and for the world as we know it. Breathe it in, deeply, in worship.
O come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord – the fragrance of Life who permeates our every moment.
Allow Christ to win the battle of Christmas in your own heart – then live that Christmas life in the presence of those God has given you to touch. As He becomes Immanuel to you, you will have the fragrance of that intimacy with Christ drawing others to the Life found only in Him.
Question: What is your favorite Christmas song, and why does it move you?
Resource: 7 Steps To Awesome for Christmas Worship Leading is a PDF that will support you who are worship leaders or pastors in creating consistently powerful Christmas worship environments.