It is hard to believe that there are only five days left before Christmas Day. It’s at this time of the year when people get into the “The Christmas Spirit”. It is very common to hear people say, “Hearing all those Christmas carols playing in the mall sure puts me in the Christmas Spirit” or “If we could just have some white snow on the ground that would really put me in the Christmas Spirit.” But have you ever stopped to ask yourself, “What is ‘The Christmas Spirit’?”
True Christmas Spirit is described for us in the book of Luke. In the first chapters of this Gospel, we find examples from Elizabeth, Zacharias, the angels, shepherds, Simeon and Anna. Their response to the coming and birth of Christ is the true spirit of Christmas. It is a God-ward focus. It is worship. Remember the wise men that came to see Jesus? In Matthew 2:2 they said, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to … worship Him.” If Christmas is a time for anything; it is a time for worship.
One commentator describes worship as an attitude of the heart. When the attitude of the heart is so overflowing with thankfulness and wonder at what God has done that there is not a thought of personal needs or personal blessings only total abandonment to God in praise and adoration, then we are truly worshipping.
An attitude of worship is very evident in Mary’s “Magnificat” found in Luke 1:46-55. Her song of worship and praise teaches a few important lessons about the attitude that should accompany our worship:
- The first thing we learn is that worship is internal. Mary said, “My soul magnifies or exalts the Lord.” And then, “My spirit has rejoiced in God my Saviour.” Both words refer to the inner mind, or being, the emotion, the will, all those feelings of the human heart. Worship comes up from the inside. It bubbles up and bubbles over.
- The second thing we can learn about the attitude of worship is that it is passionate. Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord.” When Mary says she magnifies the Lord, she is glorifying, exalting, extolling and lifting up. Mary also said, “and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Saviour”. It means overjoyed, to be exceedingly joyful, ecstatic, jubilant, to be joyful out loud. Mary’s heart was bursting with intense, overflowing, exuberant, passionate praise and adoration to God.
- The third thing we can learn about the right attitude of worship is that it is habitual. The verb “magnify” in verse 46 is a ‘continuous present tense’ verb that is best translated as magnifies. My soul continually magnifies the Lord. In other words, for Mary, it was a way of life.
Have you ever experienced the true spirit of Christmas? Have your children?
Our prayer is that each and every student and parent at Orangeville Christian School would have the same desire that is expressed by the 19th century poet, Christina Rossetti in the last stanza of her poem entitled, “In the Bleak Mid-Winter”:
Orangeville Christian School