At the Avant household, the rule has always been, “No Christmas music before Thanksgiving.” We broke that rule this year.

With my surgery scheduled for December 2 and the outcome unknown, we decided we needed to worship. So on the way to celebrate Thanksgiving in South Carolina with my husband’s family, we cranked up the Christmas music.

We sang at the top of our lungs old favorites:

Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful: “Come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant! Oh, come ye, oh, come ye to Bethlehem. Come and behold Him born the King of angels. Oh, come, let us adore Him.”

Silent Night: “Silent night, holy night; Son of God, Love’s pure light, radiant, beams from Thy holy face; with the dawn of redeeming grace, Jesus, Lord at Thy birth.”

We also lifted our voices as we sang new Christmas songs:

Make Room (Casting Crowns): “A family, hiding from the storm, found no place at the keeper’s door. It was for this a child was born, to save a world so cold and hollow. A Savior King who had no home has come to heal our sorrows. Is there room in your heart for God to write His story?”

Until You (Danny Gokey): “We were hopeless, looking for an answer, until You. We were hurting, calling for a helper, until You. You put a star up in the sky and the angels on high, declaring the goodness. We were desperate for a Savior until you.”

Worship has always been a gift to me. It’s not always easy, yet it is always healing.

My favorite definition of worship is to “declare God’s worth.” In the face of heartache, the unknown, pain, betrayal, or any difficult circumstance, if I will stop and spend time declaring God’s worth, my heart becomes peaceful. Worship doesn’t change circumstances or make pain stop, but it does change my heart.

Worship enables me to remember the truth of who God is, all He has done in the past, and what He is capable of doing in the future.

My husband’s definition of worship is “what you will do when you see Jesus face to face.” His definition embraces what the magi from the East did when they encountered the newborn King:

On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh (Matthew 2:11 NIV).

As we draw closer to Christmas Day, let’s all stop and worship Jesus. Take a few minutes to declare His worth. Bow before Him and present yourself to Him as a gift.

He is waiting.