Finding Christmas: Choosing Praise Over Platform

The Most High God …

One of the hard to miss themes in the Christmas narrative . . a theme that is echoed through all of Scripture . . is the theme of God’s glory, His rank above all things, something which He has no desire of forfeiting in even the most microscopic way. For this reason, finding Christmas – especially the Christ of Christmas, once again proves to be difficult in a world full of people like you and I who subtly, and sometimes not so subtly, have a tough time of letting go of Top Dog status.

In a nutshell, Christmas came to a “I will be the boss of me” world that simply didn’t and still doesn’t have a lot of room for an El Elyon, a God Most High. When it should be an honor and joy to know that the One above all things thought of you and I long before we arrived . . that He designed us in His image and gave us this life we know . . instead, our personal daily command modules quite frankly easily feel overcrowded if we aren’t the only ones holding the controls.

 

The Nativity …

Nonetheless Isaiah foretold the birth of Christ, describing Him as the One Mighty God (Isaiah 9:6); Gabriel’s news to Mary left no gray area about rank, noting that she would give birth to a Son to be named Jesus who in turn would hold the place of Son of the Most High God (Luke 1:35); and, when the birth of Jesus was announced to shepherds, angels couldn’t contain themselves without ascribing glory to God in the highest heaven (Luke 2:14).

 

The Perplexed Religious Professional

Zachariah (the upstanding priest who would become the father to John the Baptist) not only knew all this, he longed for the mercy of God to appear in the form of the Messiah. Yet Zechariah fell into a mindset oh so very common around those who make it a full-time profession of being in the God-business (pastor, professor, writer etc.).The danger of being “in” the God-business is allowing close proximity and familiarity with religious practice and Biblical thought to enable one such as Zechariah to subtly begin to put God in a box, to have Him measured . . even worse to believe you’re nearly as essential as He (in some cases more so) to effect the cause of the Kingdom going forward. In a sense, you can easily fall more in love with your duty, service, title and reputation than the very One whom you serve.

When your lust for platform trumps your lifestyle of praise, you are set up for a big surprise!

In Zechariah’s case, he and his wife Elizabeth, who also had noble priestly roots and an untarnished record of religious devotion, had grown old without even having one son . .  a brutal reality that was a personal disappointment and cause for fear of public shame and disgrace. Enter stage right the angel Gabriel who breaks life changing news to Zechariah when he was working in the Temple: you will have a son who who become the “opening band” if you will to the arrival of the Messiah.

Thorough familiarity and love for Messianic prophecy and Biblical accounts of God’s faithfulness and supernatural intervention in Jewish history were not enough – the proven priest couldn’t get past Biology 101 and the ravages of time on the human reproductive system . . namely Elizabeth’s and his own.

 

A Do-Over Please …

The one who was in theory “closest to God” on that day proved to be the one farthest away, for Zechariah was stuck in disbelief and was struck dumb by Gabriel for nine months and eight days . . the time needed for Elizabeth’s unexpected pregnancy to culminate in the birth of John . . and perhaps the time needed for Zechariah to re-think a few key things.

Zechariah’s God proved to be much bigger than the box the priest had concocted in his heart and mind . .though humbled, his faith was emboldened. Though every other Jewish father would be thrilled to pass on their namesake to their firstborn son, Zechariah would not succumb to another spiritual “swing and miss” . . and when family and friends looked his direction for a decision, he couldn’t write “John” fast enough . . and his tongue was loosed again.

The one who would be father to the one who would proclaim “Prepare the way of Lord” had learned to make way for that very same Lord in his own heart . . no wonder the first words out of his mouth were “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel” (Luke 1:68- the God who is our highest authority) . . and then moments later, he looked at his son and said, “And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High” (Luke 1:76).

Zechariah would have no trouble finding Christmas for he had once-and-for-all learned the life altering lesson of  . . choosing praise over platform.

 

 

“A Christmas Alleluia” by Chris Tomlin, Lauren Daigle & Leslie Jordan

Alleluia, alleluia
Christ, the Savior of the world
He has come!
Alleluia, alleluia
Alleluia, alleluia
Christ, the Savior of the world
He has come!
Alleluia, alleluia

The heavens roar, the angels sing
All glory to our God and King!
O night divine forever more
The heavens roar, the angels sing
All glory to our God and King!
O night divine forever more

Alleluia, alleluia
Christ, the Savior of the world
He has come!
Alleluia, alleluia
To the highest name of all
Alleluia!

You’re the Highest name of all
Alleluia!

Wish to refresh-forward this post?

  • Add your comments below
  • Catch the entire Finding Christmas Series . . HERE
  • Find the Christ of Christmas . . HERE At LifeLetter Cafe
  • “LIKE” the Cafe Facebook page HERE

 

 

About the author : David "JB" Miller

David

David "JB" Miller is founder and author at LifeLetter Ministries. He and his wife Cheri make their home in beautiful Paradise Valley, Arizona and have six children and six grandchildren they absolutely adore.

View all articles