"Glory to God in the highest," the angels sang when Jesus was born. Really? The highest glory of God is two peasants in a barn, laying a newborn baby in an animal feeding trough? The highest glory of God is that his magnificent angels sang their wonderful song to smelly, uneducated shepherds who had been working the fields for who-knows-how-long?
From a human perspective, there is absolutely nothing about this story that is glorious. A baby born in a barn might be moderately interesting to a modern-day local TV news crew. But the story could just as easily be bumped from the evening news by, well, just about anything.
The Christmas story is exactly how God loves to be glorified—by saving people. He doesn't need fanfare. He already knows who he is and that he is unmatched in power. What he really wants is for us to know him as a loving Savior and believe in him.
God doesn't just call for humility. Amazingly the One who is greatest also displays humility. His greatness is seen in his willingness to endure anything in order to save us. The story starts with the humbleness of a manger; it ends with the horror of a cross. In between were years of persecution and homelessness. Through it all, there wasn't a word of complaint. He was too committed to saving us to notice the hardship it entailed!
The birth of Jesus was God revealing his highest glory—love! Without love and forgiveness the other attributes of God are just too terrifying to consider. But because he is guided by love for us, his power and magnificence are wonderful for us to consider. He won't use his power in any other way than to bless us.
Learn a lesson from the Christmas story about how to glorify God. Jesus said, "This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples" (John 15:8). You glorify God when you humbly take the opportunities and gifts he's given to you and use them to do God's will. You don't need fanfare either. When you quietly love your family and serve them, God is glorified. When you use your skills at your job so that you can support your family and provide a service to a company or customer, you glorify God. When you help a friend who needs help, you glorify God.
The Christmas story shines with the glory of God. That glory is his love. We too can glorify God—by showing love.
A glorious Christmas season to each and every one of you!
Pastor Tim Wempner
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