Watching the faces of young people singing praise and worshipping the Lord with hands extended, I felt unbridled joy.
Joy often overflows from my heart when I see genuine, heart-felt worship reflected in the faces of a new generation of worshippers—fresh followers of Jesus—led by young leaders and mentored by those who were once fresh faces in a crowd of worshippers themselves.
Why? Because their worship exalts Jesus whose birth we celebrate at Christmas. Also, authentic worship fills those who exalt Jesus as they worship with a deep and humble joy.
True authentic worship exalts Jesus and fills worshippers with joy
Although it would have been without any liturgy or our modern instruments and settings, I imagine similar expressions on the faces of the shepherds in the field and the wise men who traveled far to witness the divine intervention of the Lord Jesus’ birth.
If you're a Christian believer, you've probably heard the expression, J-o-y—Jesus first, others second, and yourself last—that's what corporate worship is like for me.
Corporate Christian worship is focused first on Jesus, the One who is worthy of all worship. As we worship together in one accord, each of us forgets about ourself in the midst of worshipping the Lord.
This is the picture given of the shepherds outside Bethlehem when the Lord's birth was announced by angels (Luke 2:8-20).
When the shepherds saw the Savior of the world in the manger—just as the angels had told them—they went out with great joy and told others about this event and their experience.
During a worship service overseas, I looked around at the many young faces engaged in worship and was blessed to see the young worship leaders. Most of them I’d known when quite young. Now I saw them leading other followers of Jesus—a newer and younger generation.
This is what the church was designed to do—generation after generation—mentor and lead those who are younger to become leaders. It is the responsibility of older generations to train up younger ones, then step back so they may lead others, as I wrote recently.
My wife and I were surrounded by others younger than we, just as it was decades ago when we were the young faces in the crowd. We also saw this in the young women we cared for at Rainbow Village who now have their own families.
After Jesus was born, some Magi (wise and learned men) came from a distant country seeking the One whose star announced His birth. They sought the King of the Jews and had "come to worship him." (Matt. 2:2)
Worship is more than singing songs of worship in a congregation, it is an expression of the heart and a way of life. True worship isn’t restricted by our setting or situation, it ought to overflow into everyday life.
Genuine worship that overflows with joy can take place whenever or wherever we are. It is the overflow of a heart and life in awe of Jesus who came as a newborn but who proved He is the Lord of Lords by His resurrection from the dead.
Worship is an expression of the heart and a way of life
When we give ourselves to Jesus and in service and leadership of others, we experience the great gift of God—his favor—His grace and kindness. Experiencing and receiving this favor is part of what overflows our heart in worship and is expressed in how we live our lives.
When we truly experience God’s grace in our life, it results in a humble joy that changes us internally and causes our heart to overflow as we worship the Lord. As the popular Christmas carol expresses— Joy to the World!
May you have a blessed Christmas as you worship the Savior of the world, Jesus—the King of the Jews, the Prince of Peace, the Lord of Lords.