“An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people.’” Luke 2:9-10
ADVENT WEEK #3: THE JOY OF OUR WAITING
[Light the Candle of Joy]
The expectation of His coming leads us to great joy in celebrating that coming. It makes the waiting worthwhile as celebrate the glory of this wondrous work God accomplished for our salvation in the coming birth of the Christ child.
I cannot help but smile at the wonder and excitement that my three youngest grandkids demonstrate each Christmas when it’s time to open presents. It’s a joyful wonder most of us can easily relate to at this time of year. At the same time, we know it’s not Christmas presents under the tree that causes our heavenly Father to smile. His joy is in those moments when one of His children truly grasps the wonder and awe of the glorious Christmas story.
Sometimes our simplistic enactments of the Christmas story can miss the sense of awe and wonder that must have stunned the shepherds that night as the angelic announcement exploded with the glory of the Lord. Did you catch that important phrase in the Luke passage? The glory of the Lord shone around them!
Like a nuclear bomb, the Lord’s glory burst upon that pastoral scene and forever transformed those who witnessed it. Out of the complacency of their ordinary lives came a burst of wonder and awe at the news of something so extraordinary that they had to go see “this thing that had come to pass”. What they saw was so astonishing they could not help but tell others what they saw.
In our day there is no scarcity of complaints about how commercialized Christmas has become. I see and hear much whining about Santa Claus getting more prominence in the Christmas holiday narrative than Christ, even though the word, Christmas, still bears witness to the true object of this “holy day” celebration. And we should be concerned about the derailing of the true story in favor of a mythical one.
I wonder, though, if it would be better to focus less on all the shortcomings of others who fail to grasp the true meaning of Christmas and focus more on the state of our own hearts. Perhaps, Christmas has lost its focus because we have lost our wonder and awe at the glory of this celebration of the Incarnation.
What might change if we approached Christmas with a child-like wonder of God’s glory expressed in the birth of His son? If our grandchildren could see our delight in the wonder of the glory of the Lord surrounding this miraculous event, might they see how the world’s dazzling display of Christmas decorations and presents under the tree pale in comparison? I wonder…
GRANDPAUSE: “Every human being has an aching for awe—a longing for something deeper—unfortunately, we are prone to misdiagnose that ache in our heart thinking it’s for superficial stuff when it is actually for God’s glory.” –Matt Heard