This is the fifth advent reading that went along with the For Unto Us 2016 Christmas Prayer Loft at the Gathering House Covenant Church in Spokane Washington.
Glory To God
by Margot Cioccio
Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests. ~ Luke 2:14
Luke 2 tells the story of the birth of Christ that many families will read together as part of their Christmas celebrations. In verse13 of that story it says that “Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
Tonight is Christmas Eve and we light the final candle in our advent wreath. At this point all your shopping should be done. Hopefully your presents are all wrapped and the preparations are all completed and you can stop now and take a big breath or at least a little break from the madness if your not.
How do we bring Glory to God? What exactly is glory anyway? There are things that are easy to describe like a candle. Its made of wax and has a wick you light it and it illuminates the darkness. There are other things that are hard to describe but when we see the we say there it is that God’s glory. Like, when we get to the point in the service later tonight as we light the candles and sing silent night. I am always over whelmed in that moment how God’s glory transforms a dark room and fills it with his beautiful glory.
Isaiah 6:3 says of the angels, that they were calling to one another: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”
Holiness is perhaps a little easier to understand and it can help us understand glory. John Piper writes “we have been taught that holy means separate—distinct and separated that he is in a class by himself, infinite perfections, infinite greatness and infinite worth. His holiness is what he is as God that nobody else is. It is his quality of perfection that can’t be improved upon, that can’t be imitated, that is incomparable, that determines all that he is and is determined by nothing from outside him. It signifies his infinite worth, his intrinsic, infinite value.” later in this same article titled What is God’s glory he writes “ The glory of God is the manifest beauty of his holiness. It is the going public of his holiness. It is the way he puts his holiness on display for people to apprehend. So the glory of God is the holiness of God made manifest.”
Corinthians 10:31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God. Whatever we do we should be displaying the beauty of God’s holiness. We can’t do that if we continue to focus on all that is wrong in the world around us. We need to focus on God and his incredible perfection, his love that is so beyond our comprehension.
You don’t study the counterfeit or the copy if you want to be able to tell a real thing from a fake. You study the real thing. We need to focus on knowing our God.
Colossians 3:15-17 in The Message says
15-17 Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.
We as believer are those upon whom his favor rests. The sin that once separated us from being able to have a relationship with God has been dealt with by Jesus. God did it in a way that was so contrary to how folks of that time thought it should happen that they by and large they pretty much missed his coming. Its easy to think that we would have handled things better than they did but if we are honest there is a good chance that we are so busy with our lives that we have not really made much room for him. He may have our Sundays but does He have us the rest of the week? Is his glory being revealed in our day to day lives? Tonight as we light this final candle, the Christ candle may we resolve to know him more fully and allow his light to and his glory so transform us that we become the light of his love to the world around us. May his Glory cover the whole earth.