Christmas is a time for adoration; or better yet the season in which we are reminded to adore the ruling king of the universe. Personally, the songs we sing at Christmas are the most potent reminder that I should practice the joy of adoration every day. Take O Come all ye Faithful for example:
O come all ye faithful joyful and triumphant, O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem. Come and behold him, born the king of angels. O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him, O Come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord.
The story of the song is simple enough. We’re invited to come and see the Messiah and, having seen the Lord, to adore him. I’m sure you’ve sung this song a hundred times in your life. Here’s my question. Have you every stopped to think what it means to adore something or someone?
As chance would have it, I was reading C. S. Lewis’ book Letters to Malcolm when the time came to start singing Christmas carols this year. I found one section of his book particularly helpful in my pursuit to understand what it means to adore.
“Gratitude exclaims, very properly, “How good of God to give me this.” Adoration says, “What must be the quality of that Being whose far-off and momentary coruscations [flashes of light] are like this!” One’s mind runs back up the sunbeam to the sun” (Letters to Malcolm, 90).
I found what Lewis wrote helpful and challenging. It’s easy for me to be thankful. Thankful for salvation, my family, friends, shelter, food, etc. But all to often I stop short of adoration! I say thank you for the gift without letting my heart run back to the giver. Without doubt adoration is a discipline, but I believe it is a worthwhile discipline. Take the birth of Jesus (after all, it is Christmas). When I look at Jesus in the manger I am filled with thanks; thank you God for sending your son, thank you Jesus for humbling yourself, thank you God for your plan of salvation. But we cannot, we must not stop there. We have to take the next step and ask, what kind of God would so graciously send his son, humble himself so much, or devise such a glorious salvation! When we set our hearts on such questions we begin to adore. We can do little more than sit back in absolute amazement at our God–following the sunbeam back to the sun only to be overwhelmed by brightness.
One last lesson from Lewis:
One must learn to walk before one can run. So here. We–or at least I–shall not be able to adore God on the highest occasions if we have learned no habit of doing so on the lowest (Letters to Malcolm, 91).
What a challenge. No opportunity–no gift or grace–is to small to practice adoration! Take this Christmas season and practice adoration. Take every laugh, every joy, every gift, every drop of God’s resounding grace, no matter how small, and follow the sunbeam back to God. And when you get there, stop and ask, how incredible must God be if these small glimpses of his grace are so sweet? You’ll find yourself in the middle of adoration!