Tonight is the end of Advent.  Tomorrow, we celebrate Jesus’ birth!  Tonight, the long wait for His arrival ends – and tomorrow, the celebration of Emmanuel – God with us – begins!

xmas-decorIt’s Christmastime!  And all that goes along with this season is for Jesus!  Garlands.  Lights.  Tinsel.  Bows.  It’s all for Him.  Songs and Symphonies.  Parties and Caroling.  It’s all for Him!  Ugly Christmas sweaters.  Office Gift Swaps.  Door decorations.  Cheesy Christmas movies.  Special treats & desserts & baked goods.  All of it is for Him!

Even when we don’t know it – it’s for Him!  Even when we don’t mean to celebrate Jesus, that is still exactly what’s happening!

If God had not come to earth, if Jesus had not been born, there would be no Christmas.  All of the celebrations and joy and specialness of this season – they would not exist.  But because of Him – because of the Advent of Jesus, the coming and arrival of God’s Son to earth – we celebrate.  The whole world celebrates!

All the trees & gifts & decorations & music & food – it’s like the whole world is throwing Jesus one gigantic, month-long birthday party!  Even when people don’t know it, that’s what they are celebrating!  That’s what this is all about!

la-navidadThat’s what all of this is for: the day God came to earth, as an infant, to grow into a man, to experience human life, to live & walk & work among us – as one of us.  His life and death would redeem mankind, and His Resurrection would conquer sin, death, and the grave – FOREVER!  All of heaven and all of creation sings and celebrates and rejoices at the wonderful, unfathomable miracle of Jesus!

During Advent – in these weeks that lead up to Christmas – we speak a vocabulary of worship: we use words like “adore”, “exalt”, “rejoice”, “bow down”, “kneel before Him”.  We recount stories of how the shepherds were in awe of Him.  Of how the wise men were overjoyed because of Him!  They came bearing gifts worthy of a king!  And so we follow their example.  We present gifts to each other in honor of Jesus’ birth.  We sing songs of worship like “Joy to the World” and “O Come Let Us Adore Him”.

But worship is so much more than just singing.  It’s SO much more.  Whenever a thing does what the Creator of that thing made it to do, the Creator is honored:

  • img_1152A child’s laughter exalts God.
  • An act of selfless kindness glorifies God.
  • A finely-crafted piece of furniture from a carpenter.
  • A joyful dance from a ballerina.
  • A delicious meal prepared by a skilled cook.
  • A drawing or sculpture or painting or photograph can be an act of worship.
  • When we manage money with integrity,
  • when we love our neighbor,
  • when we farm God’s creation.
  • When we teach the next generation about God, and life, and the world.

Whenever humanity does what God created humanity to do, it is worship!

  • osmans-wheelchairsWhen our hands heal,
  • when our inventions & innovations serve others,
  • when we rejoice with those who are rejoicing,
  • when we mourn with those who are mourning.
  • Whenever …let’s see …how can I put this …whenever married husbands and wives …engage in certain activities …that express married love, and …bring intimacy to their marriage, and …allow them to obey God’s command to be fruitful & multiply(!) – that activity brings glory God! (Hey, just read Genesis 2 and Song of Songs – I’ll say no more :-) )
  • Whenever humanity does what God created humanity to do, the Creator of humanity is exalted!

But the worship of God is far more than the activities of humankind.  In the natural world all around us, there is a service of worship that is happening all day, every day, around the clock, in adoration of God!  The Bible frequently calls our attention to the ongoing worship that exists in nature:

Job 12:7-10 –  7 Ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; 8 or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you.  9 Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this?  10 In His hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.

Psalm 95:3-5 –  3 For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods.  4 In His hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to Him.  5 The sea is His, for He made it, and His hands formed the dry land.

Psalm 96:11-13 –  11 Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it.  12 Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.  13 Let all creation rejoice before the Lord!

Psalm 113:5-6 – 5 Who is like the Lord our God, the One who sits enthroned on high, 6 who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth?

Job 26:7-14 –  7 He spreads out the skies over empty space; He suspends the earth over nothing.  8 He wraps up the waters in His clouds, 9 He covers the face of the full moon, 10 He marks out the horizon on the face of the waters for a boundary between light and darkness.  11 The pillars of the heavens quake, 12 By His power He churned up the sea; 13 By His breath the skies became fair; 14 And these are but the outer fringe of His works; how faint the whisper we hear of Him!  Who then can fathom the extent of His power?

Let Heaven & Nature Sing!  Let Heaven & Nature Sing!  Let Heaven & Nature Sing for the glory & honor of Jesus!

  • let-heavn-nature-singThe blossoming of a flower
  • The song of a bird
  • The flight of an eagle
  • The crash of ocean waves
  • The dancing of forest trees
  • The pounding of horse hooves
  • The explosion of lightning and the roaring of thunder!
  • The babbling of brooks
  • The churning of waterfalls
  • The chirpings of chipmunks
  • The roaring of lions
  • The clapping of beaver tails
  • The leaping of whales at sea
  • The choreography of schools of fish underwater
  • The majesty of falling snow
  • The refreshing of a nourishing rain
  • From coral to rainbows,
  • from mountains to meadows,
  • All of creation conspires together to honor its brilliant Creator!

Psalm 19:1-4 –  1 The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.  2 Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.  3 They have no speech, they use no words; 4 Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, and their message reaches to the ends of the world.

Amos 5:8 –  He who made the Pleiades and Orion, and changes deep darkness into morning; He who darkens day into night, who calls forth the waters of the sea and pours them out on the surface of the earth, The LORD is His Name.

Job 9:8-10 –  8 He alone stretches out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea.  9 He is the Maker of Ursa Major and Orion, the Pleiades and all the constellations of the south.  10 He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted.

Far beyond our atmosphere – the universe with all its vast array of galaxies & stars & planets & solar systems – all the constellations of the cosmos swirl and spin in a dance of worship and honor unto their Creator – and it’s all for Him!  It’s all for King Jesus.

John 1:1-3 –  1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  2 He was with God in the beginning.  3 Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made.

Colossians 1:15-17 –  15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.  16 For in Him all things were created: all things in heaven and on earth, all things visible and invisible; all things have been created through Him and for Him.  17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

la-navidadIt’s all for You, Lord!  It’s all for You!  It’s all for Him.  It’s all for King Jesus.  Emmanuel.  God with us.  Our Creator.  Who loves us with an everlasting love.  Our Savior.

And in heaven, the angels present an unending procession of praise before King Jesus – a never-ending celebration of worship & adoration & thanksgiving.  Tonight, on Christmas Eve, we are invited to enter into their unending service of worship before the throne of King Jesus!  Below are the verses from Revelation where we get to peak into this worship in heaven.  And if you are willing, I would like to invite you say the bold-print words aloud as you read them, joining your voice in with the songs of heaven:

Revelation 4:1,8-11; 7:9-12 –  1 After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven.  8 Day and night the heavenly beings never stop saying: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.”

9 Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor, and thanks to Him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, 10 the elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives for ever and ever.

They lay their crowns before the throne and say: 11 “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things, and by Your will they were created and have their being.”

9 After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people, and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.

10 And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”

11 All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying: “Amen!  Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever.  Amen!”

Worship is SO much more than songs.  And It’s SO much more than human activity.  When we worship, we do not start something new.  We join in with a massive celebration already in progress that involves all of nature, the universe, and the heavens:

  • The natural world all around us honors Him!
  • All of the cosmic universe dances for Him!
  • And all of the multitudes of heaven adore Him!

Let Heaven & Nature Sing!  Let Heaven & Nature Sing!  And Heaven, and heaven, and nature sing!