Lift up your hearts.” “We lift them up to the Lord.” “Let us give thanks to the Lord, our God.” “It is right to give him thanks and praise.”
So goes the dialogue that begins every Liturgy of the Eucharist. Day after day, week after week, we are called to affirm how “right” it is to honor and worship the Lord our God. Especially as we are preparing for Christmas, it is a good idea to do a little self-examination to test the depth of our own worship of the One whom we are called to adore.
Scripture gives numerous examples of those who paid homage to the child Jesus. The Magi followed his star to Bethlehem, where they prostrated themselves before this little boy to do him homage. When Joseph and Mary took Jesus to the Temple for his circumcision, Simeon took the child in his arms and blessed him. At the same time, Anna, a prophetess, “gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem” (Luke 2:38).
These are not examples of routine encounters with Jesus. These are people who were filled with the Spirit and who honored the Lord out of the depths of their hearts. The Magi were moved to see the long-awaited King of the Jews; Simeon was waiting to die until he had seen the promised Messiah; Anna had spent years worshipping, fasting and praying, awaiting fulfillment of God’s promise. All were moved in their hearts to bow down and pay homage to the Christ child.
When is the last time you worshipped the Lord like this? Not just by attending Mass or studying Scripture? These are good things to do, but worship involves being moved in your heart to demonstrate your reverence and gratitude for who Jesus is and for all that he has done for you through his birth, death, and resurrection. Savor those times you have experienced his love, compassion, and grace. Try to recall these moments of grace every day until Christmas, and take note of what God does in you in response. You will be amazed at all the blessings that flow from a humble, worshipping heart.
meditation: The Word Among Us