Sundays at 10:00 a.m. at the Jefferson Center in downtown Roanoke
Grace. Grow! Groups. Go!

“GLORY to God in the highest”

       Why the theme of GLORY for ADVENT? Am I forcing it on the Christmas season?
Isaiah 40:5, “And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed” is, in fact, the Christmas story.  It is the Christmas message.  The birth of Christ was the revelation of the glory of the Lord, just as Isaiah had promised. And in John’s 1st chapter vs. 14 the word became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld his glory”. The whole concept of the glory of the Lord surrounds the Christmas scene. 

       At the birth of Christ, the Bible says that angels shouted, “Glory to God in the highest.”  The shepherds, in meeting the angel, were instantly aware that “the glory of the Lord shown round about them, and they were very much afraid.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” And after the Shepherds went and saw the baby it says they returned, glorifying God. The glory of the Lord was the focus of the angels and the shepherds, the first witnesses of the birth of Christ. 

      Did the glory of the Lord invade that scene? Or was there something inherent about that small, vulnerable baby born to a poor couple in a manger in the backwaters of the Roman Empire that isn’t imposed on the Christmas story; but actually IS the Christmas story.

       This Advent Season, which is the four weeks and thus 4 Sundays that lead up to CHRISTMAS, we will learn that GLORY is the expression of the holiness of God. God is wholly other, transcendent; holy, holy, holy and every time that that is displayed in some way before us, we say that His glory is revealed.
      Isa. 6:3 holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty, the whole earth is full of his ….[what?]  We would expect “Holiness”, but we read “full of His glory”. So glory is the manifestation of Goid’s holiness.

We will find that this theme dominates our Scriptures.
We will find that God’s supreme joy is for His own glory.
We will find that Jesus radically redefines glory for us.
We will find that God created us for His glory and discover what Ireneus meant
      when he wrote: “the Glory of God is a man (or woman) fully alive”
We will find that we also get in on glory and are being transformed from glory to glory
This is the ‘chief end of man’: I Cor. 10:31 so whatever you do, whether you eat or drink…
              do it all to the glory of God.

We will see that the glory of God is a vision of His holiness, His supreme ‘otherness” and yet not one that   scares us to death, but that comforts us to life:

The great mystical poet, Frederick Wm. Faber captured a vision of the glory of God beautifully:
          Within a thought so great, our souls;  little and modest grow.
          And by its vastness awed, we learn the art of walking slow