Friday, December 2, 2016

26 Devotions Focusing on Christ in the Nativity Alphabet--Holy

Nativity Alphabet by Krista Hamrick


Krista Hamrick’s beautiful original art print, Nativity Alphabet, has so inspired me. Each of the 26 words in the Nativity Alphabet are so intricately painted, almost like stained glass windows. My heart has been drawn to write 26 Devotions Focusing on Christ in the Nativity Alphabet.


While pondering the words, “O Holy Night,” I was inspired by listening to this beautiful rendition of the hymn, O Holy Night featuring David Phelps…O Holy night, the stars are brightly shining, It is the night of our dear Savior's birth…

Worship (proskuneō from pros = before + kuneo = kiss or adore) means to prostrate oneself in homage before another in the full sense of worship, not mere reverence or courtesy. When Jesus Christ was born into this world, He was attended and worshipped by angels. (Luke 2:13).

Proskuneō represents the most common Near Eastern act of adoration and reverence and also carries the idea of profound awe and respect. The word proskuneō literally means to kiss toward someone, to throw a kiss in token of respect or homage, to prostrate oneself in homage, to do reverence to, to adore and so to worship and show respect. Notice that proskuneō is a command (aorist imperative) meaning to carry this out effectively and fully. The angels are to do this now!

Greek scholar Kenneth S. Wuest writes: “Proskuneō means "to prostrate one’s self, to kiss the hand to (towards) one in token of reverence, to fall upon the knees and touch the ground with the forehead as an expression of profound reverence, by kneeling or prostration to do homage to one or make obeisance, either in order to express respect or make supplication.” It is used of homage shown to men of superior rank, or of homage shown to God.”

Proskuneō is the word used when the Magi came from the east to worship the Christ child. [Mt 2:2] This is the word that means to lie down prostrate before one that is worthy to be worshipped. It involves the attitude of humility of the person who is bowing, and it involves an understanding and recognition that one is in the presence of the One that is worthy. It is a response word, not an emotion, but an immediate response in the presence of deity.

Pastor John MacArthur states: “The Magi had seen the sign of the Son of man, and they had come to worship him. To worship means, literally proskuneō means, to stoop to kiss. It was a word that spoke about the way you paid homage to a monarch.  You stooped down and you kissed his foot. The word proskuneō finally came to mean any internal attitude of adoration or worship to someone greater than yourself. They came to worship. The word proskuneō means to kiss the feet of, or stoop to kiss, or to kiss reverently.  When the New Testament uses that word, it is always used of something truly divine. It is a word that is only fit for deity. It is only fit for deity.  You remember when John tried to worship the angel in Revelation and the angel said, “Get up.  Don’t proskuneō me.  Proskuneō God.  He’s the only one worthy of such worship.”  Kittel, who has written such a marvelous series of word studies on the Greek, incomparable work, says, “The proskuneō of the wise men is truly an offering to the ruler of the universe.”  It was a word reserved for deity.  And when they came, I believe, they not only saw Him as a king of the Jews politically, but they saw Him as the ruler of the world, which means they saw more than humanity; they saw deity.”


Just as the Magi bowed down and worshiped our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, so do we seek to worship Him as a response, not an emotion, but an immediate response in the presence of deity.  As Psalm 84:1-2 states: How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty. I long, yes, I faint with longing to enter the courts of the Lord. With my whole being, body and soul, I will shout joyfully to the living God. Because we can worship God anyplace and anytime, we might fail to understand the psalmist’s longing. In Old Testament times a person made a pilgrimage to worship God. It was a yearly event and often involved a lengthy journey. That is why the psalmist sang of a dwelling place where he could be in the presence of the Lord. It’s why he expressed a desire to be even a lowly gatekeeper in God’s house so that he could worship God every single day! We have available to us what the psalmist could only hope for. When Christ hung on the cross, the heavy veil separating the Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple ripped from top to bottom. This symbolic act shouted to the world that believers were no longer required to stand at a distance. We can walk into God’s presence and commune with him by name. Today many religions continue to require a pilgrimage to worship their gods. Christ made a way for you by making a pilgrimage of his own—the long, lonely walk to the cross—so that you could praise him wherever you are.

Lord Jesus, just like the Magi who bowed down in worship at Your birth, I am thankful that I can worship You right where I am. I will enter Your courts with thanksgiving. I will kneel at Your mercy seat and find forgiveness. I will call out Your name in praise. Lord, I pray for those who do not yet have this intimate relationship with You—the One True Living God. Open their eyes to see that they can find You and worship You right here, right now. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.


Look Up—meditate on Psalm 84:1-2 … pray to see what it reveals about the character of God.

Look In
—as you meditate on Psalm 84:1-2 … pray to see how you might apply it to your life. Be propelled to ask galvanizing questions about your discoveries: "Because God is_________, I will_____________."

Look Out—as you meditate on Psalm 84:1-2 …pray to see how you might apply it to your relationships with others. Let the nature of God impact on every relationship, for your good, and for His glory.


* If you liked this post, you’ll love this book – 
Name Above All Names Devotional: Focusing on 26 Alphabetical Names of Christ


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