December 25, 2015

The Glory of the Lord

Luke 2:1-14

We all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory.

—  2 Corinthians 3:18

On Christmas day we want everything to be glorious. We hope our family celebrations will be filled with joy and light. We go to worship expecting that the decorations, the music, and the readings will be uplifting. We join our voices with those of the angels, singing, “Glory to God in the highest.” We long to experience what the shepherds did when “the glory of the Lord shone around them.” Could there be a more appropriate way to celebrate the birth of Jesus?

In our hunger for glory, however, we might not notice that the angel points away from the circle of light to a dimly lit stable. The sign given to the shepherds was not the glory that shone when the angel appeared; nor was it the praising of God by the “great company of the heavenly host.” Instead the sign was a child born into the most humble of circumstances, “wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

In his teaching Jesus used a word that means “glory” (doxa) when he instructed us to choose a humble position at a banquet. Jesus explained that when we sincerely humble ourselves, we will be “honored [doxa] in the presence of all” (Luke 14:10). When we follow the example of Jesus and humble ourselves, then the glory of the Lord shines around.

God of light and glory, instill in us the attitude of Jesus, who humbled himself by becoming human, like us, and was honored and exalted, to the glory of God the Father. Amen.

About the author — Norman Visser

Norman Visser has served as a pastor of churches in Ontario, Nova Scotia, and South Dakota. He states that while he is “not known for waiting patiently,” he is “working on it.” Norman and his wife, Marcia, have three children.

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