And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
When I think of the glory of God, I think of grand displays of power and majesty. I think of things that would cause me to fear him. I imagine splendor, light, might and God’s sovereign rule. I think of choirs of angels piercing the night’s silence with bold and beautiful songs. I think of this scene with the shepherds and their flocks bathed in the aura of God’s brilliance.
But an Amy Grant song, El Shaddai, comes to mind, and in particular one of the lyrics: your most awesome work was done in the frailty of your son. I don’t know how well the angels understood what was happening that first Christmas. Whether they realized that God’s glory was going to be hidden for 33 years in the man, Jesus of Nazareth. But I do know that God’s glory was being wrapped in swaddling cloths and laid in a manger for shepherds to see and magi to worship.
Holding to the true glory of God in Jesus Christ is vital if we are to capture the true meaning of Christmas. The implications of that true meaning are that even the most humble service or servant in the hands of God and for his rule and reign will forever bring glory to God in the highest. That is a privilege for which I greatly hope.