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As one popular song puts it, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”

While that song spies Christmas through the lenses of marshmallows and mistletoe, there is another (clearer) lens through which we might choose to view this season. I am speaking of the lens of worship.

The shepherds, the angels, the Magi, were all compelled to worship at the arrival of the baby king. You could even say Herod worshiped as he ordered the slaughter of innocent babies in an effort to eliminate this new threat to his throne. What!? Yes, Herod worshiped too – just not the baby king. Rather, Herod’s adoration was focused inward. He worshiped himself.

Everyone worships. Or, as Harold Best said in his book Unceasing Worship, “Nobody does not worship.” We all worship someone – or something. The real question ought to be: “To whom are we dedicating our lives?” Or, “Toward what are we directing most precious resources (time, money, intellect, etc.)?”

This has proven to be a challenging question for me in 2009 and I assume it will continue to challenge me in 2010.

As we reflect back on another year gone by – and while we have the immediate opportunity over the next few days to contemplate the meaning of the arrival of Jesus – the question is re-posed to all of us: “Where will our worship be directed over the next 365 days?”

I’ve been thinking lately that the “worship” question discussed above is a much better question to ask than, “Are you a Christian?” Unlike the “Christian” question, the worship question cuts through all kinds of (often) superfluous doctrine and cultural clutter.

To say one “worships Jesus” is indivisibly clear. Conversely, to “be a Christian” can mean all sorts of things – things likely not intended by Jesus, Saint Paul, the Gospel writers, and many of the initial architects of the Christian faith.

At the risk of being spiritually intrusive, I want to pose this question in the reader’s direction: Do you worship Jesus, alive, the one revealed in the Gospels, who literally presented to us God in the flesh? Or, have you perhaps been distracted lately by shinier things, things like technology, celebrity, money, or even family?

May Jesus, himself, become brighter than the brightest heavenly star to you starting this December 25th and continuing on through the twelfth month of 2010 (oops, that’s sounded an awful lot like a Hallmark card, sorry). And may you respond once again to him – without the distractions of guilt and regret for the past – and simply become a worshiper (of Jesus) once more. I, for one, am attempting just this.

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