Glory to God in the Highest
“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock 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 Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; You shall find the baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 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, good will toward men.” —Luke 2:8-14
Let me begin this article by wishing you and yours a very merry Christmas. Debbie and I pray that this Christmas will be the greatest Christmas you will ever experience. I also pray that this article concerning the birth of our Lord will be a blessing to you during this Christmas season.
The Lord was not born on December 25. This date was chosen sometime before the fourth century. Therefore, as believers, we must understand that we really don’t know the exact date of Christ’s birth. Actually, we are celebrating His birth irrespective of the day on which He was born.
As well, Christian parents should never teach their children that Santa Claus is real. No child should be taught myths about some mystical gift giver. From the time he is able to understand, a child should be taught the true meaning of Christmas. It should center on the observance of the birth of Christ and what He did in delivering humanity at Calvary’s Cross and the resurrection.
Shepherds Abiding in the Field
Verse 8 begins: “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.”
The area in question referred to the area around Bethlehem, where Jesus was born.
The phrase, “Shepherds abiding in the field,” pertained to the lowest caste in society at that time.
The phrase, “Keeping watch over their flock by night,” gives us the indication that December 25 was not the day on which Christ was born.
It was the custom to send flocks out after the Passover, which was in April, to stay until the first rain in October or November.
The Angel of the Lord
Verse 9 says, “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.”
In the phrase, “And the glory of the Lord shone round about them,” this glory was the Shekinah, which was the visible token of the presence of God. It was the Shekinah glory of God that appeared to Moses in the bush that burned, then in the pillar of fire and cloud that guided the children of Israel during their journey through the wilderness, and then appeared in the tabernacle and the temple. It was the Shekinah glory of God that shone upon Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration when Christ rose from the dead.
The phrase, “And the angel said unto them, Fear not,” is especially endearing as most of the world lives in fear. There is fear of the future, fear in the present, fear about finances, and a multitude of other things, but here we are told to fear not.
The phrase, “For, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy,” proclaims that which salvation affords all who will accept Christ as Lord and Saviour. It is “joy unspeakable and full of glory” (I Pet. 1:8).
The phrase, “Which shall be to all people,” tells us that Christ would die for all of humanity; therefore, the gospel is not a western gospel or an eastern gospel but is one gospel for the whole of mankind.
This Day a Saviour Is Born
The phrase, “For unto you is born this day,” proclaims the incarnation—God manifest in the flesh.
The phrase, “A Saviour, which is Christ the Lord,” presents Christ as the “good tidings of great joy.”
A Multitude of the Heavenly Host Praising God
This phrase presents sinless angels first praising Him on His coming to earth. Therefore, if the heavenly host is continually praising the Lord, how much more should we, who were dead in sin and trespasses but are now washed, sanctified, and justified, praise the Lord.
Glory to God in the Highest
This statement tells us that all glory must go to God for sending His Son to die on Calvary’s Cross to atone for man’s sin. Once again this tells us that we are to be continually giving glory to God and praising Him for what He has done, for what He is doing, and for what He is going to do.
And on Earth Peace
At the time of the birth of Christ, the Roman Empire was at peace all over the world, but that peace ended not long after the crucifixion, and the world has been in conflict ever since. However, peace will once again be known around the world when the Prince of Peace is ruling from His eternal throne in Jerusalem during the kingdom age.
Good Will Toward Men
The Lord only desires good for humanity. His good will was His Son given for all men. George Williams, speaking of God’s good will, said: “God’s glory in creation was high; in revelation higher; but in redemption, highest. His power was seen in creation; His righteousness in law; but His highest attribute—His love—is seen in the atonement.”
We can have a merry Christmas as long as we understand how great our salvation is.
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