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26 December 2007

Somehow or Other, It Came Just the Same...

My childhood years defined what it meant for it to "feel like Christmas." As I noted a few days ago, I'd love to be able to recapture those childhood sensations. This year I felt a few small stirrings that were like gusts of magical, snowy Christmas cheer of old, but alas, the whole "feeling" never settled in and stayed.

But I noticed something: Christmas still happened.

I have sat through, and participated in, many worship services during which I thought, "I wish that God would make me feel like He has before; that I'd be overwhelmed with His presence." Sometimes this happens. Sometimes it doesn't. The fact that I'm not always prompted to present an outward response or am not touched to the core of my emotions does not of itself mean that I'm not worshipping, nor do these things give me an excuse to stop worshipping God or praising Him.

It's my guess that people often show up for worship services and regret that they're just going through the motions because they don't really "feel" what they're singing, or they don't "feel" like they're taking to heart what they're hearing. While I fully understand this, the Scriptures don't tell us to wait for a certain emotional state of mind before worshipping (though we are told to come to God with thanksgiving, with boldness, and with a clear conscience that comes from confession of sin and repentance). Here's what King David tells us that he did: "I will bless the Lord at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth." (Psalm 34:1, KJV)

God is at work whether we feel like we're a part of that plan or not. And for the person who is truly seeking to know Him better daily, He is using them to be a part of that work. Paul instructed Timothy, "Preach the Word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not." (2 Timothy 4:2, NLT)

I have found that when I offer worship and praise in spite of the fact that I don't particularly feel like it, the impact at the moment, and on my life, is often the most profound.

I'm actually bracing myself for potential negative comments on this post. I've tried to touch on key points rather than going fully in-depth, and as a result there are a lot of things I've left unsaid. I hope that incorrect inferences are not taken because of that.


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