And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken (Isa. 40:5).
Christmas is full of grandeur. From the appearance of the star leading wise men to the baby Jesus, to a host of angels surrounding shepherds and bursting with song, our Lord’s birth was not void of heavenly fanfare. All of these majestic events surrounding the birth of Christ were treasured by his mother, Mary (Luke 2:19).
The prophet Isaiah prophesies of the coming Christ—prophecies of these events surrounding the birth of our Lord and everything he would endure for us. The glory of the Lord, however, is detested by the world. When the long-anticipated glory of the Lord is finally revealed, that glory was, as the prophet Isaiah writes, “despised and rejected by men…as one from whom men hide their faces” (Isa. 53:3).
If the glory of the Lord is not in the fanfare of the events surrounding our Lord, what then is the glory of the Lord?
The glory of the Lord is in his working for you. It is in his incarnation. The glory of the Lord is in his baptism, temptation, suffering, death, and resurrection for you. The glory of the Lord is in Christ crucified for our sins that the mouth of the Lord may speak the words, “your sins are forgiven” (Luke 7:48).
The Gospel writer Luke records three of Jesus’s parables on lostness. Jesus tells a parable of a lost sheep, a lost coin, and two lost sons, prompted by Pharisees irritated with Jesus’s association with sinners. In these parables, Jesus says, “Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance” (Luke 15:7). The rejoicing the shepherds witnessed from the angels at the birth of Christ is but a glimpse into the joy of all of heaven bursting at its seams as Jesus brings his lost children from death to life.
The glory of the Lord is in Christ’s saving you. It is in the gifts of Christ delivered to you. The preaching of Christ crucified for the forgiveness of all your sins, your pastor’s words of absolution, the waters of Holy Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper.
We sing with the angels, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:14). The glory of our Lord has been revealed to us in his saving us. It is finished, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
Heavenly Father, as we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Savior, remind us that we are at peace with you, and that you are pleased with us because of your word of forgiveness you spoke through your Son. Amen.
The Sinner/Saint Advent Devotional is now available!