It may feel a bit early to talk about the birth story of Jesus and preparing our hearts for Christmas, but what we’re discussing today can be applied every day in our life – not just the Christmas season.
When you think about praising God, what comes to mind? Is it musical worship or how you live your life? Maybe it’s a hard thing for you to articulate because you don’t know exactly what it looks like or how it’s done.
The angels and shepherds from the birth story of our Lord Jesus Christ give us an excellent example of what it looks like to display praise for our King and Savior.
Why Praise Jesus?
Before we talk about how to praise Jesus, we need to have a clear understanding of why Jesus is worthy of any praise.
Jesus, who is sinless, all-loving, compassionate and completely selfless, left his perfect and peaceful home in Heaven to join His creation in a place that is defiled, wrecked and devastated. Why did He leave a place as wonderful as Heaven? Because He loved you and me. It was His immense love for us that led to Him giving of His life for undeserving sinners like us.
That, my sweet friend, is why Jesus, and Jesus alone, is worthy of all praise, honor and glory. He didn’t have to do what He did – but He chose to – in order to save you and me.
What does Praise Look Like?
In Luke 2:8-20, the angels and shepherds demonstrate for us what it looks like to praise Jesus. Let’s take a look specifically at what they did to show praise for Jesus.
The scene in this passage opens dramatically with an angel appearing to the shepherds at night. The message the angel shared would change the course of history forever, but it first had to be spoken to someone. The angel shared the wonderful news of the Savior coming to earth, then the angel told the shepherds how to find Jesus.
After finding Jesus, the shepherds do exactly what the angel did for them – they tell others about the Savior who had been born. The NIV translation said the shepherds, “spread the word,” while the ESV translation said they, “made known,” what they had learned and seen about Jesus. It’s clear they were out telling people about the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
What a clear and tangible example for us as believers of Jesus Christ! A clear way we can praise Jesus and bring honor to Him is to tell others about Jesus.
Speaking Praise Aloud
Have you ever had people thank you for something you did? Maybe you cooked a meal for a family with a newborn who then thanked you for it; maybe your spouse noticed you cleaned the house and thanked you for it; or maybe you went above and beyond on a project at work and your boss thanked you for it. It feels good to be appreciated for what we’ve done, right?
Now, I want you to think about a time someone appreciated you for who you were. Maybe they noticed your compassionate heart and praised you for how you help those in crisis; maybe you’re gifted with great analytical skills and someone pointed it out to you and told you how skilled you are; or maybe you have a steady demeanor that helps others feel at ease and they acknowledged that in you.
Which acknowledgment has more impact on you? People thanking you for what you did or praising you for who you are?
There’s a significant difference; and it’s the same when we approach Jesus. Do you spend more time thanking Him for what He’s done in your life or for who He is? When we only focus on thanking Jesus for what He’s done (which, of course, is important), we miss everything about who He is and the sustainment we can find in who He is.
What the Shepherds and Angels Teach Us
Much like the Angels and Shepherds praised Jesus speaking aloud His worthiness (see vv. 13-14 and v. 20), I want to encourage you to do the same thing. Tell Jesus what makes Him great. Tell Him why He is worthy – not just because of what He’s done, but because of who He is.
This, my friends, is how you can praise Jesus: tell others about Him and speak praise aloud for who He is. As I mentioned above, preparing your heart for the Christmas season in regard to praising Jesus doesn’t need to wait until December. Start now. Tell someone about Jesus and then tell Jesus what you love about Him. The holiday season is ripe with opportunities to do these exact things, so let’s prepare our hearts in advance to be ready to praise Him!