Brilliant Glory

The boys and I have been memorizing the advent story from Luke chapter 2 this season. It is such a traditional, familiar part of Christmas for our family, that often its simplicity and beauty become common place. Reciting it with the children has somehow revived and freshened its meaning for me, as we’ve discussed it together and simplified some of the terms. As we quoted the section about the angel appearing to the shepherds, these words jumped out at me: “And lo, an angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shown round about them.” The angel was alight with God’s glory. This messenger from God was shining brightly, not because of his own nature, but because he had come from the very presence of God. I have always imagined angels to be radiant beings. This verse implies that. But it explicitly calls that radiance, “the glory of the Lord.” Angels are radiant because they glow with the light of God’s glory from being in His very presence.

When Moses received the Law from God on Mount Sinai, his face shown with the radiance of God’s glory, so much so that the people were frightened by his appearance.   Being with God, left a physical impression. The light God’s glory is apparently very contagious!

Once the tabernacle was completed God’s shekinah glory descended upon it, filling it, so that no one could enter.  After Solomon built the temple, God’s glory also filled it.

When Jesus came into the world as a tiny baby, God’s shekinah glory again descended among men. “The glory of the Lord shown round about them.” The angels announced the advent of God’s Light, in a blaze of His glory.

What is cool to me about this, is that we get to be a part of extending that glory to the ends of the earth. God’s glory is often portrayed as a radiant physical light in Scripture. Often His glory in our lives isn’t visible in the same way as brilliant light in the midnight sky might be, but one day it will be. He is working his radiance into every fabric of a surrendered life. And one day when we stand in His presence those threads of brilliant glory will burst forth in rays of holy light.

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