The lights, the flames, and the bright Christmas displays are only dim reminders of the great glory of Christmas.
Christmas is a time of glory. Consider the glory the apostle John speaks of in John 1:14: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
God’s glory at Christmas
We find this glory in a stable in Bethlehem, where no bright lights burned and few would even have noticed, except that God sent angels to announce the event to some lowly shepherds. In that stable, a young peasant woman gave birth to a son and placed him in a feeding trough for his crib. Not much glory in that—at least not on the surface.
Remember, the mother was a virgin. And the child? He who was in the beginning, the Word in the beginning, became a child in time. He who was God became flesh. He who was with God came to be with us. Our God, who has appeared in a burning bush, as a pillar of fire, as a consuming fire on Mount Sinai—whose glory filled the tabernacle and the temple, whose glory lights all of heaven—packaged all that glory and sent it to us in the person of his Son.
Know the truth—the truth that the child in the stable came to bring you eternal life.
Why? He did it because there was no other way that we could stand before him in all his glory. We were standing—better said, wallowing—in the dark, murky depths of sin. To be confronted with God’s unveiled glory would have destroyed us.
So, instead, God sent his Son to save us—such great love he had for the people he created but who rebelled against him.
He reached out to us through his Son because he loved us. It’s unimaginable that the God of glory could love us, who by nature are the children of darkness. But he did, and he gave us his Son. That’s grace! And the radiance of that grace shows us his glory.
God’s glory beyond the stable
We must go beyond the stable to see it more clearly. A visible manifestation of his glory was Jesus’ transfiguration on the mountain before Peter, James, and John. But go beyond that—to the cross and to the empty grave. See him take our sins in his body and give us his righteousness. See him die in our place. See him rise victorious—this babe of Bethlehem. See him ascend again to heaven’s throne with the promise to come again. That’s grace. That’s God’s glory.
Now look beyond—further into the future. Know the truth—the truth that the child in the stable came to bring you eternal life. Treasure the truth that makes you a disciple of the Savior, Jesus. Guard and keep it. See the glory in it and look for him to come again in power and great glory. Look forward to the indescribable glory of his heaven.
You have seen the glory of God in Christ, haven’t you? That glory dwells with you today. It’s not in the fire that burns on the ends of candles. That fire will eventually go out. It’s the eternal fire that burns in the hearts of believers—in your heart and mine. It’s the light that shines the way to heaven. It’s the flame of faith that compels you to go, like the shepherds, and tell others what you have seen.
It is the light of Jesus Christ.
Author: Gary Baumler
Volume 107, Number 12
Issue: December 2020