When we think of Christmas, We, as Christians, should be thinking about the birth of our Savior, but even when we are thinking about the birth of Christ and our salvation, we often think only of our side, our blessings and benefits. There is a God’s side that we often neglect. It is important to realize that the bible shows connection between the birth of Jesus and the glory of God.
The gospel of Luke recorded the proclamation of the good news of Christ’s birth to the shepherds: that the Savior, the Messiah, the Lord has been born, and his birth will be a good news of great joy for all the people (v. 10). At the end of the proclamation, a multitude of heavenly host appeared and praised God, saying “Glory to God in the highest” (v. 14).
The glory of God can be described in two senses: as an attribute of God and as a historical presence of God. As an attribute, it refers primarily to the majestic beauty and splendor of God. As historical presence, it often refers to particular historical manifestations of his presence, often associated with images of light and fire.1
In the proclamation of the good news by the angels to the shepherds, we actually see both. The glory of God is revealed as visible light that shone around the shepherds (v. 9), and the angels’ praise in turn is an ascription of splendor and honor to God2 (v. 14). The shepherds were terrified when they first saw the glory of God (v. 9), but after seeing the newborn baby, they returned, glorifying and praising God (v. 20).
But it is hard to describe God’s glory by words alone. Years after years my theme for Christmas has always been “Glory to God in the Highest.” Yet I have found that images and designs all fall short in describing it. Words and my own ability are severely limited in expressing God’s glory. I do believe, however, that the more we know about the glory of God as described in the Bible, the better we are in understanding it.
So as Christmas is connected with the glory of God, it is an important truth that God wants us to know / remember. I pray that God may open the eye of our heart, that we may truly see God’s glory as we celebrate Christmas! May we glorify and praise God as the shepherds did!
For other articles in the Christmas series, please click this link: Christmas Series.
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.
9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.
11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.
12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.
17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,
18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. (Luk 2:8-20 TNIV)