“And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and 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 among those with whom he is pleased!”
When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”
~ Luke 2:8-15
At this point in the Christmas account, and in this devotional, the scene of heavenly messengers has become very commonplace. Mary, Elizabeth and Joseph have spoken with angels. Abraham spoke with God as the covenant is given. Isaiah even gets the chance to take a peek into the throne room of heaven. The picture of the heavenly messenger is almost becoming tired news.
Take a second to put yourself in the shoes of these shepherds. You’re in in complete isolation, in the wilderness and its some time after dark. While you’re sitting there with your shepherd buddies the darkness is wiped away by glorious light. You go from being alone to being in the midst of an angel. Then to add to the overwhelming glory, you are then surrounded by a fleet of angels singing praises to God.
In this moment of unanticipated power these shepherds are overwhelmed with fear like many of us would be. It is in this moment of fear that the angel dispels by revealing God’s gospel and God’s glory simultaneously. Which, in Biblical reality, might be one in the same. God’s glory and God’s gospel are both seen in Jesus Christ:
“In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” ~ 2 Corinthians 4:4
And as we see see God’s glory in His gospel, the transformation is unmistakable:
“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” ~ 2 Corinthians 3:18
The beholding of God’s glory is what transforms the heart and passions of a man. The fear of the shepherds was dispelled as they saw God’s glory before them. There is this soul-satisfying reality when we come to be satisfied in the glory of God alone. As John Piper says in one of his most famous sermons:
And since God is the source of greatest happiness, and since he is the greatest treasure in the world, and since his glory is the most satisfying gift he could possibly give us, therefore it is the kindest, most loving thing he could possibly do — to reveal himself, and magnify himself and vindicate himself for our everlasting enjoyment.
Today, may you enjoy God and His glory above all else knowing that it is this beholding that changes you in the best ways.
Take a few minutes to ask God that you may see His glory, keep your eyes fixed on Him and treasure Him above all other things.