The Glory of the Lord
Scriptures: Luke 2:8-38 Isaiah 40:3-5 Psalm 119:105
A tiny, gentle light begins to glow in the night sky, then suddenly explodes into a fiery, shattering radiance that fills the heavens. The men on watch for thieves or predators who would harm their flocks, cowered in terror, shielding their eyes from the laser like beams blazing across the hillside. A voice, booming and yet comforting, sounds out, declaring “FEAR NOT”, then continues to tell these shaken souls the good, great news that Messiah has been born.
So moved by this supernatural news broadcast were the shepherds, that they did as they were bidden and made their way into the city of Bethlehem, abandoning their flocks, to see this King, to witness the Glory of the Lord come to earth.
But they were not met with more beings in garments of light, or booming voices, or cohorts of angelic choristers. In a dirty feeding trough, by the light of a small oil lamp, lay a newborn baby, being watched and tended to by his exhausted young mother and her husband. And yet, they bowed down before Him, in awe and wonder they gazed on this tiny child, seeing the outpouring of Love and Grace that is the tender, beautiful Glory of the Lord made flesh, reflected from His eyes as He gazed back at them.
Simeon, drawn to the temple by Holy Spirit, was so overawed by the Glory of the Lord which he saw in the young baby, that he burst into the glorious declaration of exactly Who this child was, and blessed the family. He also spoke directly to Mary of where this journey of motherhood would take her.
Anna, the prophetess, who was at the temple every day, took one look at the young child and broke into praise and thanksgiving to God.
The shepherds, Simeon, Anna all saw a human baby. Their reactions to these meetings were certainly not what would be the normal reaction of grown men, or a deeply devout widow, to such a meeting.
The shepherds declared all they had seen to anyone they met, Simeon knew he could now depart this life in peace and Anna, at 84 years of age, began her mission to preach to all who looked for redemption in Israel.
All they physically saw was a baby, a normal looking human baby. Yet these meetings radically changed their lives forever. They saw the Glory of the Lord in the life of a small, frail child. There was nothing to distinguish Jesus from any other baby, except that He was, and still is, Emmanuel – God with us. The Glory of the Lord was before them, and they saw Him. The Son of God, reflecting all of the Glory that came down to earth with Him, was there, in the feeding trough, in the temple, dwelling on earth with mankind.
We can no longer gaze upon the small child or look into His eyes physically, yet we have that same gift, that same opportunity to see the Glory of the Lord dwelling here on earth, with us, if we are prepared to lay aside our preconceptions of what this Glory looks like.
How do you expect to see the Glory of the Lord? As the all conquering, victorious returning King of kings, come back to claim His Bride? Or as a soft breeze from Holy Spirit refreshing your soul? Maybe the gentle tones of the Father’s voice comforting and reassuring when we feel so lost and alone? Perhaps the healing touch of Jesus as He soothes the pain in our weary body? What about the delight of God as He sings over us, restoring to us our Joy? The blessing that comes from seeing the masterpieces of our Creator God each dawn and sunset, or when the skies glower with dark clouds, or when a rainbow splits the sky with its wonder and beauty?
As our path is illuminated one step at a time by the Lamp of God’s word, as we walk in His Light, we are truly surrounded by the Glory, the infinite, marvellous Glory of the Lord. If we open our eyes to see.
Prayer: Abba Father, open our eyes that we, with the shepherds, Simeon and Anna, may see Your Glory and declare with thanksgiving and praise, that Jesus is the Christ, the Saviour of the world, our Redemption, our Hope, our Glorious, Wonderful Emmanuel. Amen