by DRU PERERA, FOUNDER OF GLOBAL RESET, (MCapSc (Hons), PGDipSpTchg (Dist), BEd (Teaching) Primary, BA)
This Advent, how can we use journalling to prepare our hearts to worship Christ expressively, extravagantly, and expectantly?
Matthew tells the story of the Three Wisemen who came from the East of Jerusalem (Chapter 2:1-12). The Magi dedicated their lives to diligently seeking out the mysterious and magnificent phenomena that appeared in a single moment in history. When the star of wonder appeared in the night sky, these great men not only noticed and recognised it, but they also responded to it in great haste. Why? Worship was at the heart of why they hastened to leave their families and homes behind. Worship is what motivated them to stay committed to making the costly long journey of approximately one thousand miles across treacherous terrain. Worship also compelled them to disregard the dangers and take priceless gift offerings along.
- How can you commit to decluttering your Christmas preparations to pursue Christ more diligently?
- What are you willing to do differently, this season?
To summarise here, Matthew makes it clear that worship was at the heart of why the Magi chose to follow the star of Bethlehem. Let’s now turn our attention to how they worshipped Christ.
1. Worshipping Expectantly
We can infer from Matthew’s introduction that the Three Wise Men set out with great expectations. The Magi came from afar, journeying for many months through tremendously difficult terrain truly believing that worshipping the King of the Jews would impact their destinies. Matthew 2:5 (cf. Micah 5:2) also suggests that the Magi committed to a long obedience in the same direction in anticipation of becoming part of the epic historical event that would herald a prophecy of greater things to come.
- How are you worshipping in expectancy of Christ’s return?
- What can you do to commit to a long obedience in that direction, this season?
- How can you fill your lamp with the eternal oil that will keep it burning brightly throughout your earthly journey?
- What are you willing to do to improve your posture of expectant worship, this season?
2. Worshipping Expressively
The Magi are described as wise men of great intellect, who had a keen interest in astrology. So, it would be fair to assume that they were probably men of great stature who were used to spending most of their days reading, writing, and doing calculations, and yet; despite having journeyed far out of their comfort zones, Matthew 2:10-11 says, “When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they came into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him” (KJV).
As Pastor Mark Batterson puts it, God is in the detail. Many are familiar with the details of the long journey the Three Wise Men made and the gifts they brought, but few pay attention to the expressive language and details used to describe the outpouring of their exuberant, alabaster-jar-shattering, worship. Take a moment to reflect on what Matthew is alluding to here; Christ draws out the same exceeding joy from all who seek Him wholeheartedly.
- How does your worship express your commitment to loving and serving Christ?
- What do you need to do to make your worship more expressive?
- What are you being called to shatter in His presence, this season and how will you make it happen?
- How can you express His joy to the world this season and what are you willing to do to make it happen?
3. Worshipping Extravagantly
Pursuing the star in search of Christ required an extravagant measure of the Wise Men’s time and combined talents. Matthew 2:11 goes on to say that the Magi came bearing their finest and most priceless treasures. “Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.” So, in essence, the Magi held nothing back in their pursuit of Christ and in their efforts to worship Him. Their gifts are of great prophetic significance, pointing to Christ’s royalty, divinity, and humanity. We know that Christ is the Messiah who was fully divine and took on flesh. He is Immanuel, Christ within us. Christ is our Royal High Priest and is the only one who is wholly worthy of our extravagant worship.
- What distractions do you need to filter out to draw near to Christ?
- How can you ensure that your time, talent, and treasure reflect your commitment to worshipping Christ, wholly?
- What can you do to worship Christ more extravagantly?
- How are you stewarding your time, talent, and treasures toward blessing others?
If we follow the shining example of the Three Wise Men, in the words of Charles Dickens, we can truly honour Christmas in our hearts and try to keep it all year. I hope you will join me in stepping into this season of Advent with a deeper commitment to worshipping our Lord and Saviour, Christ Immanuel; expectantly, expressively, and extravagantly.