Come, Let Us Adore Him.

Do you adore Jesus?

I was asked this question three years ago in a room with a few hundred other women. My immediate thought was, “No. I do not.” And each year following, I have asked myself that same question and every year, my response has been the same. And it has bothered me, mercilessly. The question itself angers me because I know the answer. It hasn’t changed. I hate my answer, because I desire the opposite to be true. And then I become angry with myself because I don’t know what it looks like to adore Jesus. I just know that I haven’t adored Him.

For the most part, I’ve managed to ignore the question. But each time I’ve heard the word “adore”, over the last few years, I’ve grown quiet…guilty. It might just be that someone has used that word while referring to a pair of shoes or their spouse, but whenever I’ve heard it used, in the back of my mind, I hear that question again and it has still bothered me…until recently.

Do you adore Jesus?

A few weeks ago, I was working through an advent study with a friend and sure enough, that word popped up, yet again. And I finally came to the point where I had to wrestle with two things. The first is that I needed to learn what it means to adore Jesus…and do it. The second is that I needed to reconcile the issue of feeling guilty about not adoring the one Person who came to earth to remove my guilt and shame. Oxymoronic, isn’t it?

This wrestling caused me to do some research and reflection. The results of those items are what I’d like to share with you here. My hope is that they will be a catalyst in your desire to worship and adore Jesus or at least motivate you to do so. May what I’ve discovered be an encouragement to you during whatever season of life you are in right now.

If you Google the definition of the word “adore”, this is what you will find: “love and respect (someone) deeply; like very much; worship; venerate”. This was my starting point. The word itself stems from Latin origins meaning “to worship”. “Adore” is not found in Scripture, yet it has a significant and profound impact on our relationship with Christ. Or, at the very least, it should.

So, what does it mean to adore Jesus? Well, simply, I believe it means to love Him and to worship Him, reverently, and with abandon. But what does that look like?

Bob Bakke, a pastor in the Minnesota area, and the same person who asked me that nagging question three years ago, shared a sermon from John 12 about Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus. Just prior to Jesus’ betrayal and death, Mary did the unthinkable. She came into a room of men, let down her hair (something not done by women in those days unless in front of their husband alone), broke open a bottle of perfume (what many scholars believe was her dowry / a year’s wage’s worth), and soaked Jesus’ feet with it, bathing His feet in the process, and wiping His feet dry with her hair.

Why? Why would she do something so absurd, so radical, so humiliating? Because she adored Jesus. Bakke states that Mary’s actions that night “risked her entire future on ten minutes at the feet of Jesus”. Doesn’t that thought make you stop for a moment? It’s crazy! In a matter of minutes, Mary gave up everything that secured her future, just to be with Jesus. But that’s what it comes down to, isn’t it? At the very heart of worship lies that word we don’t like. Surrender.

Would you give up everything for just a few moments at the feet of Jesus? Your house, your savings, your health, your community, your retirement plan, your children (or your desire for children), your belongings? What is it that you hold most dear? Would you give it all up for just a few minutes at Jesus’ feet – to worship Him in humble adoration?

I know that I don’t possess the ability to surrender like that in my own strength. Not even close. But what I do have is this: a request from my heart – to help me surrender like that, to help me want to worship like that, to help me adore Jesus like that. And the amazing truth is that when you ask for those things, from a place of true humility, Jesus meets you in your willingness and desire.

As I pondered earlier on the beauty of Mary’s adoration, humility, and surrender, I asked Jesus to make my heart and mind desire precious time with Him and to help me adore Him like Mary did. In the minutes that followed, with tears streaming down my face, I came to understand that to adore Jesus is to worship Him. To marvel Him – Who He is and what He’s done. To adore Jesus is to love Him. And to love Him is to obey Him.

To worship and adore Jesus does not mean that I read my Bible and ask God for all of the things I want and check that off my to-do list for the day. It means taking the time to listen for His voice and to hear from Him, obeying what He says. To worship Him is to spend time in His presence. Worshipping and adoring Jesus can be radical and it can appear absurd, like David dancing naked before the Lord or Mary’s anointing of Jesus’ feet. In that moment, nothing else matters; not other’s thoughts or scorning words. Just Jesus. Only Jesus. Actions of adoration, perhaps viewed in the eyes of the world as insanity, may just be what changes the world. As Bakke suggests, “There is no telling what divine scheme we may be initiating, what you may be initiating, what mysteries may be unfolding, what enemies we may be defeating when we simply give ourselves for the worship and adoration of Jesus”.

Adoration begins with worship.

William Temple shares the following statements on worship:

1. Worship quickens the conscience by the holiness of God.

2. Worship feeds the mind with the truth of God.

3. Worship purges the imagination by the beauty of God.

4. Worship opens the heart to the love of God.

5. Worship devotes the will to the purposes of God.

If we want to really adore Jesus, worship is where it starts. We recognize His holiness, we read and meditate on the truth of His Word, we spend time in awe and wonder of His beauty, we are humbled by and receive His love for us and those we cannot love in our own strength, and we obey His will for our lives.

Do you adore Jesus?

If not, I hope you have found a place to start – with a humble request and the desire to worship Him like Mary did. And what better time to start than this season of Christmas – the season of miracles – where Jesus was humble enough to become a helpless baby, to be born in a manger, to leave the joy of the throne room of heaven to come to earth, knowing He would die a torturous death. For you. For me.

If you are in need of practical suggestions, like myself, I would gently encourage you to start this way. Find 30 minutes in your schedule. Turn on your Christmas tree lights and turn off the other lights. Read John 12:1-7 and meditate on it as you listen to the words of this song, based on Psalm 130.

I Will Wait For You (Psalm 130) by Shane & Shane

And then wait for Him. Worship Him. Give time and space for Him to speak to you. I can tell you from experience that if you wait long enough, you will indeed hear His voice. And it will be worth every moment spent in the waiting.

This Christmas season, don’t wait until another day to adore your Saviour. Start right now. Quiet your heart. Worship Him in honesty and humility. If you don’t know what to say, tell Him that. But absolutely refuse to move until He meets you where you are. He is worth your veneration, your respect, your love, your worship, and your adoration.

My prayer is that when you attend church this advent season and you find yourself singing the words, “Oh, come, let us adore Him”, you truly know what that means, because it’s something you’ve chosen to do with intentionality already. May you join with the shepherds and, in your heart and mind, go to Bethlehem to behold Him, the King of angels. May you always be in awe and wonder of the King of your heart. May you, today and forevermore, adore Jesus in full surrender, with joyful obedience, and total abandon.

Tribute to a Godly Woman. A Personal Memoire.

I was given the opportunity to share at my Nanny’s funeral today and the following is my testimony to her life – and a life well-lived, it was indeed.

As a child, I had the unique opportunity to come to Ottawa and live with Nanny, Poppy, and Shirley for a significant portion of each summer. As a result, I had the privilege of spending countless hours with Nanny, and I’d like to take the next few moments to share with you some of my fondest memories and personal observations of her character.

First off, Nanny was resilient. She encountered any obstacle that came her way with dignity and with grace. I remember asking her (I was very young at the time) why it was that she had dentures. She told me it was because she was so poor growing up that she and her siblings had only one toothbrush to share so she didn’t get to use one very often. There was no bitterness in her tone when she told me that. It was just the way it was. She accepted that.

Second, Nanny was courageous and brave! She somehow managed to stay at home with four young children while her husband was serving in Israel as a peacekeeper. She made nutritious meals on an incredibly low budget, managed her home, still attended church services every Sunday (with her and her daughters in matching dresses, which she sewed herself), and still found time to teach her children about the love of Jesus.

Nanny. Was. Frugal! Honestly, she could make many meals off a dime (or from all the food she kept in her multiple deep-freezes or cold room storage of canned goods…which she did all herself). I still remember newspapers spread across her kitchen table with the coupon sections cut out. One fond memory that still makes me chuckle is the time she came home from work at lunch and stated that she didn’t feel like cooking – a first for her! She informed me that she had some coupons for Burger King and asked if I would like to go there for lunch together. This was a BIG DEAL. Not only was Nanny willing to eat at a fast-food establishment, but she was also willing to pay to eat there. I remember being in utter shock at her suggestion, but excited, I quickly corrected my eyes which were wide in disbelief and said, “Yes!” What’s even more amazing about this story is that this happened the next day AND the next! By Day 3 I didn’t know what had happened to Nanny or who this woman even was. But I enjoyed those Burger King lunches, dodging Ottawa traffic each day to get there, and after one of those visits, going with her to the park, just walking around, and taking in the sights of the Rideau Canal, hand in hand.

Nanny was a hard worker. I still shake my head in disbelief when I think of how hard she worked, for so many years. I honestly don’t know how she managed to do it all. She cooked three meals a day, found the time and energy to grow and tend a large garden, can all the produce from the garden, hang the laundry on the line to dry, sew dresses and matching outfits, sew on buttons and hem items for her grandkids, work outside the home part-time, still manage to run home on her lunch break to make and serve lunch to Poppy before going back to work in the afternoon, pay the bills, mow the lawn, plant flower beds, and knit a plethora of items, just to spend every second Saturday at CARP – Ottawa’s farmer’s market – to sell her hand-knit creations. I enjoyed spending those mornings with her at the market. Sometimes, she would open her cash box and give me a bit of change to go buy snacks at another vendor’s booth. She may have been frugal – but she was also very generous. Not only with her money, but also with her time. I remember waking up one night just before midnight and, noticing the kitchen light still on, I made my way out to the kitchen just to find her sitting at the table, knitting a dishcloth – a common occurrence. Instead of being bothered by the fact that I was out of bed in the middle of the night, she just asked me if I was hungry and promptly made me a peanut butter and jam sandwich. I ate it while I watched her knit quietly. I asked if she’d be going to bed anytime soon since it was late, and she casually replied that she had about another 10 dishcloths to knit before market the next morning…so she’d be awhile yet. I just assumed that adults didn’t need sleep after that.

Finally, Nanny loved Jesus. And she made Jesus known. She taught Christ and His love to her children and to those around her. This is evident in the lives of her descendants and in the way she treated others. I remember vaguely her expressing frustration one day because a patient she had been assigned to sit with wasn’t receiving the level of care she felt her patient needed or deserved. To Nanny, the situation was unfair and unjust, and she was going to make her thoughts known to whoever it was that was in charge. She gracefully fought for justice when she could. She aimed to show Christ’s love and character to everyone. I distinctly remember seeing her Bible open on the kitchen table (amidst all the coupons) so very often. Before tucking me in at night, she would kneel beside the bed, gently brush her fingertips over my eyelids to help me sleep and would pray with and for me. I’ve never forgotten how loved that simple action made me feel. She was a very good Nanny to me. With fond remembrance, at times I still glide my hands over other sleepy, little eyelids, and I have to say, that trick still seems to work.

Nanny was by no means perfect. She had her faults. But I will always be grateful for the gentle and loving manner in which she treated me. I am forever thankful for the legacy she has left. She loved Jesus. And, if you knew her at all, then you know her life was evident of that.