Looking back over 2023, one of the things I cherished was the opportunity to visit the Holy Land in the summer. What a joy it was to be where Jesus walked!
While there, I was reminded of the passage of Scripture in which Jesus interacted with a Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:7–26). During the conversation, the woman asked a question about where worship should take place. Jesus told her a time was coming when worship of God would be in spirit and in truth. She responded, “I know that the Messiah will come, and when he comes, he will tell us everything.” Jesus then revealed himself to her, stating, “I am he, I who am talking with you.”
As we celebrate this Christmas season, let’s not forget the reason. The birth of Jesus was a pivotal moment in God’s larger redemptive narrative. After 400 years of prophetic silence, the angels illuminated the sky with good news for all people by first visiting a group of astonished, lowly shepherds. Prophecy was fulfilled when a baby named Jesus was born in a small village called Bethlehem, the City of David.
This was the most profound moment in history! God was providing His redemption solution, a way for our relationship with Him to be restored. Thirty-three years later, Jesus would become the ultimate sacrifice for our sins by willingly offering His life on the cross and triumphing over death and the grave three days later, providing us eternal life.
Because of the blood that trickled down Jesus’ body while He hung on the cross, worship is no longer required to happen in a holy place at a prescribed time, conducted by a few chosen people, as mandated by the Old Covenant. When we put our faith in Jesus Christ and ask God into our hearts, the Holy Spirit begins to indwell us (1 Corinthians 6:19), allowing us to worship God anytime and anywhere. This is the New Covenant, in which Living Water is given to all who ask. “Whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst” (John 4:14).
During the festivities, Christmas concerts, and parties, let’s pause and spend a few moments to thank God for sending His Son, Jesus. Prayerfully reflect on who He is, perhaps by considering some of the names attributed to Jesus in the Bible:
- Our High Priest (Hebrews 4:14-16)
- Our Sacrifice (Ephesians 5:2)
- Our Savior (1 John 4:14)
- Author of Salvation (Hebrews 5:9)
- Our Deliverer (Romans 11:26)
- Immanuel (Matthew 1:23)
- The Son of God (John 1:34)
- The Lamb (Revelation 5:13–14)
God’s story of redemption is eternal! Can you imagine how wonderful worship will be in Heaven? We see a mere glimpse of it in Revelation 4, where angels are described as never ceasing—day or night—to say, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was, who is and who is to come.” If only we could display even a fraction of this kind of devotion to our deserving Savior.
May you create margin during the holidays to rest, reflect, remember all the wonderful things God has done and will do, and shower Him with praise. No matter what is going on around you, I pray that you will remain joy-filled and expectant, knowing that you are part of God’s larger story, which includes a plan and purpose to point parents, students, and others you interact with to Jesus, our Messiah and Redeemer.
About the Author
Dr. Larry Taylor is the president of the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI). Prior to assuming leadership at ACSI, Dr. Taylor served for 20 years as the Head of School at Prestonwood Christian Academy (PCA) in Plano, Texas. Dr. Taylor previously served as President of the Texas Private Schools Association (TPSA) Board of Directors. Dr. Taylor also was a high school principal and assistant headmaster for 12 years at The First Academy in Orlando, Florida and has held teaching positions within the public school system. Taylor co-launched a national training institute for schools, “Becoming a Kingdom School Institute” and founded the Student Leadership Institute (SLI) program. He developed a training program for parents called “Becoming a Kingdom Family.” Dr. Taylor published the book titled Running with The Horses, which helps parents raise children to be servant-leaders for Christ and helps to build a family plan.