“Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased” (Luke 2:14 NLT).
The Christmas atmosphere is all around us. We see and feel it through the decorations, the music, the snow falls, the parties and the Carols. In one way or another, many people are looking forward to it. However, at the core of all the hustles and bustles of Christmas is the story of the birth of a child called Jesus; a story that’s often forgotten or ignored during the season.
The birth of Jesus was characterized with many dramatic events – one of which is partly described by Luke in the passage above. He records the visit of an angel to a group of shepherds tending their sheep in a field. He (angel) was later joined by a host of angels who began to praise God by saying: “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased” (Luke 2:14 NLT).
Glory comes from the Hebrew word; kabod. Here’s G. M. Burge’s explanation of the word. [Even though], “God himself could not be seen, but his radiance as that of a fire or light could be apprehended (Exodus 16:7; Deut. 5:24). His kabod [therefore] is the visible manifestation of his power”.[i] From this explanation, we know that, the glory of God is the sum total of who he is – his image. This means that, God’s power, his faithfulness, his mercy, his grace and holiness are all enveloped in his glory.
In his desire to see the glory of God, Moses asked him in his prayer when he said; “Please, show me Your glory” (Exodus 33:18b). In his response, God said to Moses; 19 … “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” 20 But He said, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live” (Exodus 33:19-20 NKJV). After these words God hid Moses in the cleft of a rock; covered him with his hand until he (God) had passed away. Moses therefore could only see God’s back (Exodus 33:22-23).
An encounter like this sheds light on the heaviness of God’s glory. And also tells us how awesome he is. This places a responsibility on all of us to revere him; by giving him all the honour due him. An example of this was seen in the case of Moses’ inability to enter the tabernacle because of the glory of God that descended on it (Exodus 40:35). Another example is when King Solomon dedicated the temple he built to God; and the priests could not minister because, the glory of God filled the temple (2 Chronicles 5:13-14).
From the above examples, we can deduce that, the only thing that could smother and prevent the glory of God from coming down is sin. Israel was defeated in battle by the Philistines because of the sins committed by the sons of Eli. As a result, his two sons died in that battle. Upon hearing the news of the ark being captured by the Philistines and the death of his two sons, Eli fell and died (1 Samuel 4:12-18). Later, Eli’s daughter-in-law (Phinehas wife) who was pregnant, after hearing the news of the death of her husband and father-in-law, gave birth prematurely and named the child Ichabod meaning the glory has departed from Israel because, the ark of God had been captured (1 Samuel 4:19-22). From this incident, we know that, sin always drives away the glory of God.
Writing to the Romans, to register his displeasure about the sinful lifestyles and worshipping of idols by unbelievers, Apostle Paul said; 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like [a]corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things (Romans 1:22-13). Commenting on the depth of man’s sin, he continued; For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).
Since God is the Creator, and the embodiment of all power on earth and in heaven, it is not uncommon for the host of angels to ascribe his glory to him by saying; “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased” (Luke 2:14 NLT). Definitely, these words remind us of the holiness, the power and the goodness of God.
My prayer is that, during this Christmas festivities, each one of us will pause and reflect on the importance of God in our lives; as we ascribe all his glory to him. In my view, it’s because of him we’ve enjoyed the protection and the provision of all our basic needs in the years past as well as this year. May we also remember the peace – whether spiritually, physically, emotionally, politically or socially we are enjoying which is made possible to us only through Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour.
[i][i] Burge, G. M. 1992. Glory. Dictionary of Jesus and the gospels. Ed. I. Howard Marshall. 269. Downers Grove, Leicester; England, Inter Varsity Press.
My two new books titled: 1) Christianity As A Way of Life: Reflections on the Epistle of James. And
2) Jesus And The Seven Churches of Revelation.
were launched on Sunday November 24th 2019; and it was a huge success. Thank you for your prayers. These books will help you as study materials for your personal spiritual growth, small group, Sunday School or the whole congregation.
My other books titled: Understanding Love: Biblical & Cultural Perspectives, and African Spirituality: Did Africans Know God Before the Arrival of the Missionaries could be purchased from Amazon.com ; www.charlesmantey.com, email me at: cbmantey.com or www.shidaanikei.com.
We will be grateful if you are able to support us financially to continue spreading the gospel in Africa and other parts of the world. You may send your donations by E-Transfer or through our website at www.disciplesrevivalchurhch.org and click on the donation page.
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Rev. Dr. & Rev. (Mrs.) Charles & Faustina Mantey
Disciples Revival Church
30 Gordon Mackay Road
Toronto, Ontario M9N 2V6. Canada
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