“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.” Luke 2:9 KJV
I have to admit that though I primarily use more modern translations (NASB, ESV, NLT) in my Bible study, the years of hearing the Christmas story in Luke 2 still resonate in the King James Version.
Recently, as I was meditating on the verses in my Advent devotional that included Luke 2:9, I got stuck on the glory of the Lord.
I have a picture in my mind of what it looks like and sometimes I see something similar when the clouds have a break in them that lets sun shine through in rays. You know, where there is a big distinction between the gray or dark of the clouds and the light coming down. I think that must be what it’s going to look like when Christ returns - except it will be fast and so much more light than I can imagine.
In our passage, the shepherds are out minding their own business (caring for sheep) when the angel appears. It is just one angel. It seems to me that seeing an angel in the sky - even if it were without the glory of the Lord - would be a big enough deal to cause some fear.
But as if that weren’t enough to terrify them, “the glory of the Lord shown around them.” Glory here refers to supernatural brightness or splendor emanating from God. This wan’t just an ordinary evening light. It sounds to me like anyone would be frightened!
But amidst God’s glory, He sends a multi-faceted message - the first Christmas greeting.
1. Don’t be afraid. Easier said than done, I’m sure! But God’s revelation of His glory is purposeful and redemptive here. He’s not showing off to scare anyone or create fear.
2. He’s celebrating GOOD NEWS (same root word that is translated gospel throughout the NT). And not just any good news. Good news of great JOY!
3. The message is for ALL the people - even stinky, disrespected, lowly shepherds
4. The Messiah (Christ)…the Savior has been born.
This Christmas message continues to speak to us and, just as it elicited action on the part of the shepherds, it should result in action on our part. They have given us great reasons to:
- Rejoice and not fear
- Check out the news for ourselves (trip to Bethlehem not required)
- Tell everyone we see
- Glorify and praise God!
I pray that you are encouraged today, even if there is bad news all around you. The message to the shepherds - the message of Christmas - is that there is good news that overcomes the bad news. There is a Savior who is Christ the Lord!
If you don’t know Christ as your savior, but want to know more, please reach out! I am praying for you.