An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord
shone around them, and they were terrified. Luke 2:9
As per my custom, I read all the Christmas accounts in Scripture from Thanksgiving to Christmas – and it is so amazing how God meets me every year with something new. Every day. Today it is Luke 2:9.
God’s glory shone all around those ragtag group of shepherds. You know, the cast offs of society. Jews would not associate with them because they lived out in the elements, and were not able to participate in the traditional feasts, festivals and traditions of Jewish culture. Even though they cared for the very lambs used for sacrifices made at the Temple in Jerusalem.
God’s glory. DOXA in Greek. Meaning glory that is apparent. A thing belonging to Christ. A thing belonging to God. Splendor, brightness.
This shone around the shepherds. Over them. The sky was filled with bright glory. No wonder they were afraid. They were used to living in darkness when evening came. No street lights for them.
When I read it this morning, I had a moment. You see, it has been a rough couple of weeks. I’ll spare you the details. But, when I read that I paused and worshiped. His glory was shining down on me – when I needed it most. His splendor was around me, over me, covering me. WOW.
In reading Psalm 3 with my daughter later this morning, again glory makes an appearance –
But You are a shield around me, O LORD; You bestow glory on me
and lift up my head. Psalm 3:3
Glory coupled with shield stood out in this verse. I don’t know about you, but I need that shield. His shield. His protective covering over me. His glory over me. Nothing can penetrate that glory. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. And my shield of faith can be held up as my weapon in this war. Yes, faith. That vibrant, active, living thing that Jesus gives me on a daily basis, as He is the Author and Perfecter of faith (Hebrews 12:2).
I was getting overwhelmed with God’s glory and it wasn’t even 9 o’clock. In fact, I too am terrified of God. And rightly so. God is mighty, powerful, and worthy of our fear. A healthy fear. Not a fear that I am going to be zapped, but rather a fear because He is a holy God.
And this very glory was around me. Me. A sinner saved by grace. A child who has been beaten up this week – well for the last little bit. Why do I worry? Why do I fret? Give my worries to the LORD, because His glory is over me! His goodness. His Presence. His Might. All is encompassing me. Surrounding me and pointing me to Him.
Just like those angels in the Bethlehem fields, they were there to point the shepherds to Jesus. And, boy they got a ring-side seat to a one-time event. They were the first visitors to the new born King.
GOD CONTENDS FOR US
Proceeding on with my morning, my daughter read over me Psalm 35:1-3:
Contend, O LORD, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me. Take up shield and buckler; arise and come to my aid. Brandish spear and javelin against those who pursue me. Say to my soul, “I am your salvation.”
Wow. Wow. Triple wow. These verses are the cherry on top. The piece de resistance. If I had any doubt that God’s glory is over me, that He is with me and that He sees me and is fighting me, then those doubts were dispelled in an instant.
At the time of Christ’s birth, Israel needed salvation. 400 years of silence had reigned. God was now speaking, and the cry of a baby broke that silence. The cry of His Son who took on human likeness, the appearance of man, to become sin and be obedient unto the Cross.
This same glory that shone on David, on Israel, on the shepherds is shining on me and on you.
Can I get an AMEN? This is comforting. Awe-inspiring. It is satisfying and fills me to the uttermost and causes me to bow down in worship.
Father God, Your glory is amazing. And Your Presence is all I need. Thank You that You shine down upon us, You are our shield. Thank You that You cover us with Your glory. May this Advent season show how much we are loved. AMEN