The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. Isaiah 40:5
The first thing I saw when I looked at the Morning Office for today was the above little verse from Isaiah. We are (egads!) less than a week from Christmas morning, when we, officially, celebrate the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord. We celebrate all the wonder of God with us in the Christ Child as “the glory of the Lord” IS (no longer shall be) “revealed….” Have we seen it? Will we see it? The coming of Jesus was so easily, and understandably, missed in His own day. He was a wee babe, like all wee babies, born to poor, unsung parents who had made a long journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem for the census. There was little human fanfare but, in the countryside, shepherds were serenaded by angels telling impossibly good news: The Savior of the world was here; God had provided salvation, at last. The animals bore witness as these meager shepherds came to behold the holiness of a little family, a tiny newborn in a cave or barn, who would be the hope of all creation. No one else took notice, no one cared, no one was moved or even knew what had happened: the glory of the Lord was being revealed.
The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. We have 2,000 years of stories, histories, theology, and the perspective of Holy Scripture to aid us. We who have seen the greatness of God in Christ believe but are we changed? Were those shepherds changed by what they saw that night in Bethlehem? Are we transformed by knowing that God, who would not spare Himself, came into the world because that is where the work of salvation would play out; not in the heavenly places but in a stable, in a garden, and on a hill called Calvary. We can barely fathom the good news that the One who moved upon the face of the deep, spun the universe into motion, and brought all things into being slept in an animal trough, called human friends to share in His ministry, and laid bare His wrists and His feet that we might live knowing that love is the way of the great and powerful One who created us and longs for us. Christmas is most powerful, I think, because we come to the manger and see, ALL FLESH, even if for a fleeting moment, we see it (the miracle of God’s love) together. MERRY CHRISTMAS!