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!” (Luke 2:13-14)

Come to Bethlehem and see Christ whose birth the angels sing; come, adore on bended knee, Christ, the Lord, the newborn King. Gloria, in excelsis Deo!  Gloria, in excelsis Deo!

We know these words well from the third verse of the classic Christmas hymn “Angels We Have Heard on High.” They are almost too familiar and common because we sing them every December year after year. Because of that, you might sing them with little or no excitement. It’s rote. It’s ritual.

Often God becomes familiar and common to us. He is not as glorious—valuable, worthy, majestic, splendid—as he once was to us. I know all that already, we think. So we get bored with him. This happens not because God is common. He’s not boring! Rather, it’s because we’ve actually deceived ourselves and been captivated by a cheap substitute. We have exchanged what is beautiful and holy for what is ugly and common. The Bible puts it this way, “[People] exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things” (Rom. 1:23). We have worshiped what is created and trampled upon the Creator who is worthy of all glory, honor, praise, and blessing.

Christmas is God’s response to this. At Christmas, God entered the common to show us that he is the glorious one who is worthy of our worship. That night in the fields of Judea, God was like a proud father, pulling out all the stops to announce the birth of his Son. And to whom did he send his biggest, best choir of angels? To common people—shepherds! Not the media or Wall Street or Hollywood. The angels sang, Glory to God in the highest! The Creator entered his creation! He’s the best thing in the universe! He’s what you’re looking for! He is the only one who can save you and bring peace!

Do you hear the angels? Will you come and see this Christ? Come! Come adore him on bended knee and give glory to God in the highest!

Scripture and Reflection Questions
Read Romans 1:18-25

  1. What created things do you celebrate, value, and delight in more than God?
  2. Why is God worthy of highest glory? What is it about the birth of Messiah that shows his glory?
  3. How has the busyness of this Christmas season distracted you from true glory in God?
  4. Take some time to praise God for his glory. (Consider singing, “Angels We Have Heard on High”!)

From We Look for Light: Readings and Reflections for Advent

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