The adrenaline is just starting to wear off. It was a long, terrifying, thrilling night. As a first-time father, you can’t get over the fact that the precious little life just a few feet away from you is actually yours. It’s 9:00am, your wife and your newborn have drifted off to sleep for the first time. You’re trying to sleep now too but it’s taking you a while to drift off–maybe it’s the leftover excitement, maybe it’s the hospital chair that’s supposed to be a recliner or a bed but does neither of those comfortably.
There’s a knock at the door. Strange–the doctors just made their rounds and family isn’t due for another couple hours. Probably just a nurse. But they normally just do a warning knock and then come right in. The door handle doesn’t move.
The person on the other side of the door knocks again. A little louder this time. You’re frustrated now.
You hurry over to the door so they won’t have to knock again. You open the door quickly and are immediately confronted with a large crowd of people standing in the hallway. They’re all staring at you.
You’re stunned. You’ve never seen anyone in this crowd ever before. They don’t look like you. Half of them look like landscapers–muddy boots, grass-stained pants, sweat-stained T-shirts. Even though you just opened the door, the stench that hits your nostrils tells you that they just came straight from work. The other half of the crowd is even stranger. They look like princes from Saudi Arabia. You don’t know anyone from Saudi Arabia. They’re wearing the traditional Middle Eastern garb and they’re holding large decorated bags. You notice that their servants are standing respectfully a few steps behind them.
An awkward silence has developed as you’ve been trying to understand this crowd of complete strangers that’s standing at your hospital room door. They’re smiling and seem friendly, but this is just weird.
“Um, can I help you?” you say slowly and a little nervously.
“Yes.” One of the Saudi Arabian princes towards the front of the crowd says politely. “We’re here to worship your baby.”
“I’m sorry, what did you say?” surely you misheard him.
“We’re here to worship your baby.”
You have the typical response to their request: you slam the door and call security.
Isn’t that how you’d react if strangers showed up to worship your baby? Sometimes I think we’ve heard the Christmas story too many times. It’s weird to worship a baby. The baby hasn’t done anything yet. It can cry, sleep, and poop–that’s it. Babies are naturally cherished and protected, but not worshiped–especially by total strangers.
No baby is worshipped for his accomplishment, only for his position. This is what made Jesus special. He would go on to accomplish much–live a perfect life, purchase sinners on the cross and defeat death with His resurrection. But just the person and position of Jesus alone demands our worship. His paternity, who His Father is, gives Him honor. And His future, who He will be, demands our reverence. This is the Baby who will be the King. This is one newborn who deserved to be worshipped.
Just like the night Jesus was born, the world is still wondering why we’re worshipping this baby. Part of the answer is revelation. The only reason Maryand Joseph let these total strangers anywhere near their child was that an angel had told them this baby was different. The shepherds and the wise men each had their heavenly announcements. Today, we have something better than angelic choirs and mysterious stars. We have the written Word of God. Every page sings with the glory of Christ and points us to Him. The other reason we worship is faith. The shepherds didn’t just hear the angels message, they obeyed it. They went looking for the One the song was about. The Wise Men didn’t just see a star, they traveled for years to see the One the star was pointing to. Even now that we have the rest of Jesus’ life, the world doesn’t see much to look at. The ridiculousness of worshipping a baby was a foreshadow of the foolishness of the cross. While the world trusts in what they can see, faith relies on revelation. Our King was a baby and our King was killed. The world sees weakness in a manger and a cross, we see another reason to worship.
Especially this time of year, Jesus’ followers forget to be Jesus worshippers. Jam-packed schedules and mile-long to-do lists seem to rule the day. The contrasts of Christmas point us back to the center of Christmas. God became Man. A virgin is pregnant. The King laying in a feeding trough. Strangers bowing down in front of a baby. And we have more reasons than shepherds and wise men to worship Him.