Summary: Handel’s Messiah had a song “AND THE GLORY”. So easily we can miss what it means, “AND THE GLORY OF THE LORD SHONE AROUND THEM.” This phrase is a powerful revelation of the Lord God’s presence at Christmas
TITLE: GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST
SCRIPTURE: ST. LUKE 2:8-14
What a Celebration this morning for Christmas Sunday. We have had a blessed Advent Season and what a spirit filled Christmas Candlelight Service this past Wednesday. Most of you really missed a treat. Surprisingly, for Oklahoma, the weather has not been very cooperative the past few days. It is a reminder to us that it is not about our – REHERSALS – PLAYS – CONCERTS – ANY OF OUR BEST LAID PLANS – HOLIDAY TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS. In a few days the world will celebrate Christmas Day with the joys of the morning celebration with family. And then, just like that, in a span of 24-hours, it will be over. The sad reality is Christmas sure does not last. In the next two weeks trees will be on the side of the road for pick-up and be discarded - decorations taken down, stored in Garage or Attic and just as quick on to the next celebration of New Years Day. I wonder, how many gifts will break and wear out or be re-gifted within this next year.
• That is the trouble with the things of Christmas
• They all have a shelf life
• That is everything but the real meaning of Christmas
• That has carried over for 2000 years
With all that takes place during the Christmas season, I would like to set our focus back to where it belongs. We all can focus on FAMILY – GIFTS – MEALS – DECORATIONS – VACATIONS – HOLIDAY TRAVELS. We can also focus so much on the peripheral of the Christmas narrative. We can focus on – ANGELS – SHEPHERDS – MARY and JOSEPH – NO ROOM IN THE INN – all INTRICAL parts of the Christmas message. But, ultimately – CHRISTMAS IS REALLY ALL ABOUT GOD.
Our focus on this Christmas Sunday needs to be directed on the Lord. It is so easy to lose sight of that with all the hustle and bustle of the season. Especially when I hear so many, including the saints say, that this time of year is very difficult for them because a loved one is no longer here. And I do not want to trivialize that at all.
• Grandma made Christmas special for us back in Keyport, NJ - and she is no longer here
• My Aunts opened their beautiful home(s) and we enjoyed the decorations – another one has left us just a few weeks ago
• Perhaps your Mother and Father created great memories for you and now they are no longer here
• Siblings are transitioning and leaving voids in our heart
• Transitions of time can break our hearts
• But, Ultimately Christmas has always been and will always be about Christ
Handel’s Messiah had a song “AND THE GLORY”. So easily we can miss what it means, “AND THE GLORY OF THE LORD SHONE AROUND THEM.” This phrase is a powerful revelation of the Lord God’s presence at Christmas. “THE GLORY OF THE LORD.” If we lose sight of that, then Christmas time becomes a period of sadness and lack the capacity of Celebration. Remember what Jesus said in ST. JOHN 11:25 “…I AM THE RESURRECTION, AND THE LIFE: HE THAT BELIEVETH IN ME, THOUGH HE WERE DEAD, YET SHALL HE LIVE.”
If I were to ask each of us this morning to define the word “Glory”, we would probably hear varied definitions and explanations. We have a good understanding when we define the word Hallelujah, the highest praise. We can define and understand the difference between Praise and Worship. Praise is what we do and Worship removes us from the equation. We even do well with defining and understanding the difference between Grace and Mercy.
Our text this morning places focus upon a different aspect - “THE GLORY.” What is the Glory that we read in this exciting text this morning? When we consider various artists renditions of how they depict the angels in the sky at Christmas, the artists try to make it look bright and shiny behind the angels. What is missed is that the bright and shiny is not from the presence of the angels, but rather from the presence of the Lord himself.
When the Lord in all his glory is seen it is too awesome for humans to behold with the naked eye. It would be almost like looking directly into the sun. Our eyes could not take the full glory and live. Remember what God told Moses when he had experienced and found himself in a Spiritual Meltdown? - EXODUS 33:20-23 “AND HE SAID, THOU CANST NOT SEE MY FACE: FOR THERE SHALL NO MAN SEE ME, AND LIVE. AND THE LORD SAID, BEHOLD, THERE IS A PLACE BY ME, AND THOU SHALT STAND UPON A ROCK: AND IT SHALL COME TO PASS, WHILE MY GLORY PASSETH BY, THAT I WILL PUT THEE IN A CLIFT OF THE ROCK, AND WILL COVER THEE WITH MY HAND WHILE I PASS BY: AND I WILL TAKE AWAY MINE HAND, AND THOU SHALT SEE MY BACK PARTS: BUT MY FACE SHALL NOT BE SEEN”