The Gospel of Luke gives a vivid description of the birth of Jesus and some strange and wonderful happenings surrounding it . I’ve tried to weigh some of the words used in his narrative about the Nativity. Trying to probe more deeply and gain a better understanding of this happening which I’m calling an Eternal Event. Here’s a bit of his description:
“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night. And, lo, the Angel of the Lord came upon them and the GLORY OF THE LORD shone round about them. And they were sore afraid. And the Angel said unto them: “Fear not, for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. . . “ (Luke 2:8-11).
In considering the concept of “glory,” for some reason I thought of Albert Einstein’s early efforts to find employment. Fresh out of graduate school, he couldn’t get a job in his native Germany. I read somewhere that early in his academic career a professor had advised him to pick any career he wished: No matter what he chose. he’d fail at anything he selected. With a young wife and a baby to support, unable to find work, young Albert was desperate. Being a Jew in Germany was not exactly in his favor, and with an attitude some of the professors considered cocky, his options were very limited in his own country.
So, he finally wound up in a remote outpost almost at the edge of nowhere, on the bottom of the totem pole salary wise trying to chisel a living out of what even then was a granite-like Swiss economy as far as foreigners were concerned. But he was ambitious, confident, brilliant, and had some ideas in a massive mind, and an unquenchable imagination and incredible curiosity and patience. He had time on his hands in the slow-paced office, so he pondered and wondered and unlocked some of the great mysteries of the Universe.
Just by studying and thinking quietly, his general theory of relativity rocked the scientific world and has led to unimagined developments in almost every area of modern technology, and the end of that impact has not even yet been measured or approached. He had never seen an atom (nor, for that matter, has anyone else.). He didn’t know what he was searching for, but as he explored and imagined, he gathered information and discovered things no one before had seen and most of us can’t even imagine.
My point is simply this: Einstein did not invent or create anything. He was a theoretical physicist. He took time to think, and study, and his theory E=mc2 is a secret of the universe which had been there all the time and he took time to uncover it.
Trust me. I’m not an Einstein even after having read two of his biographies. But his discipline and thinking amaze me. There are so many wonders and mysteries we’ve not yet explored. Vast areas where there is no evidence of a human footstep or fingerprint. Outer space and the ocean depths are only two such areas.
That’s speaking only of the physical universe. What about hidden, equally reality? In my opinion, the “Glory of the Lord” may be one of those ideas worthy of further consideration. I realize it isn’t a concept which can be reduced to a mathematical equation or a chemical formula contained in a test tube. It does strike me, though, as being worth more than a passing glance.
My personal view of Scripture is that God doesn’t waste words or ideas. If He says something, it is trustworthy and noteworthy. It is, therefore, worth taking time to try to understand if we can.
So: Here I am still pondering the question: “What is the Glory of the Lord.”
I feel very certain it is more than the sights (beautiful, colorful, twinkling lights, snow scenes, etc,) scents (of cedar/pine, cinnamon, etc.), sounds (Jingle Bells, White Christmas, Away in a manger, etc.), tastes (gingerbread, fruitcake, peppermint candy canes, etc.) and the treasure chest full of frosted memories of your yester years. If none of the great masters in art have been unable to capture it on canvas, rest assured that neither will Thomas Kincaide.
A prayer of mine is that I will somehow be able to get beyond the wrappings, tinsel and trappings and distractions and discover the “Glory of the Lord” and understand the some of the meaning of the magnificent, hope-filled message the angel announced. And that I’ll be able to experience something of the joy and wonder of that night when a feed trough in Bethlehem cradled the King of Kings.
That, also, is my prayer for you as well, and those whom you love.
God’s son and servant, your friend and fellow student ~donkimrey
Post script. I thought a lot on just the idea of “The glory of the Lord.” Read a lot of places in the Bible, looked up definitions, read encyclopedia articles, sermons, etc. on the concept. My conclusion is that in its purest, simplest form, it is evidence of the Presence of the Lord God Almighty. It is a sign that He is near. A very poor analogy in my mind would be that the warmth and brightness of the sun are not the sun itself. But convincing evidence that it’s there. Whatever it meant that night, the shepherds became convinced that God is near.