“LOVE’S PURE LIGHT. . . “
“. . . and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.” We either read it every year or listen as somebody else does. Old hat. “And they were sore afraid.”
Big deal, right?
You have no idea. That word “GLORY” needs some, ah, radiance reassigned to it. What those scared-stiff shepherds saw and heard and felt that night will never be experienced again until we’re all Home and can experience it for ourselves.
Let me cue it up for you. In Genesis 1:3 when God flipped Creation’s first light switch, what do you think that looked like? Think those huge, LED roadside billboards that make you instinctively slow down… those 6-foot-long bright-white LED light bars on every raised 4WD truck known to man… those piercing xenon headlights that make every oncoming driver squint and swerve. Think stadium lights from every outdoor stadium that ever existed, ALL on AT ONCE.
That’s Heaven’s ‘now’. There’s no squinting where God is, because brilliant light that outshines our sun is their normal atmosphere.
In Exodus 34:29, 34, when Moses came down from hanging with God “his face was RADIANT” and all Israel saw it – to the point they couldn’t look at him to hear his commands without him putting a sack over his head. “Radiant”, not reflected.
In Matthew 17:2, it tells us about that time up on the mountain with Pete, Jim, and Johnny. He says of Jesus that “his face shown like the sun, and his clothes became AS WHITE AS THE LIGHT.” Mark agrees (9:2): “His clothes became DAZZLING WHITE, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them.” Dr. Luke supports it, too: “The appearance of his face CHANGED and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning” (9:29).
Pete’s pretty clear (2 Peter 1:18): “… we were EYEWITNESSES . . . he received honor and GLORY from God. We ourselves heard this Voice . . . ”
Later on, Johnny saw and heard it again (Revelation 1:16-17), when he relates he again experienced “The Son of Man, in a robe and gold breastplate, hair a blizzard of white, eyes pouring fire-blaze, both feet furnace-fired bronze, his voice a cataract . . . his face a perigee sun. I saw this and fainted dead at his feet.”
Still with me? We’re talking about what all is wrapped up in that word we’ve so often dismissed–GOD’S GLORY–and why those tough shepherds had their guts frozen at the mere sight of ONE angel showing up in his regular threads.
Couple more, ‘kay? In Revelation 21:23, it says “The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the GLORY of God gives it light, and The Lamb is its lamp.”
And 22:5 talks about us: “They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun . . .”
Why all this? First, God impressed it on my heart a couple days ago, and I’ve been doing this and that, like you, too busy to stop and get it written. That’s on me.
Next, I want YOU to be STUNNED INTO AWESTRUCK, UNPARALLELED SHOCK from now on whenever you hear the Christmas story read, and one of the children haltingly reads, ” . . . and THE GLOWY OF THE LOW-ud shown awound them”!!!
FEEL it! SENSE it! Let the thundering resonance of millions of God’s spirit-beings IN FULL RIOTOUS VOICE, appearing in their NORMAL ATMOSPHERE AND HABITAT thrill your insides! HEAR it! SEE it for yourself! Let your MIND, your SPIRIT, your IMAGINATION create an impossibly-immense mosaic of THE ENTIRE SKY completely FILLED by stunning, diamond-brilliant shafts of a light neither YOU NOR I HAVE EVER KNOWN EXISTED!
So, as you sit, sipping your morning coffee, snug in your jammies or robe, maybe listening to some muted Christmas music, tell me again how bored you are at having to listen to “that same old stuff again”.
My prayer for us both, my friend, this Christmas? In a world so jaded and cynical by human life experience, let that single phrase, “and the GLORY of the Lord shown around them” from an old story IGNITE something brand-new in our spirits.
For, you see, the story of THE GLORY‘s not over, and it ain’t a fat lady that’s gotta sing. Sometimes we’re just like the shepherds, so caught up in the regular, same-ol’ same-ol’ that we’re oblivious to God’s true reality He has in store for us.
So, yeah. That grubby stable couldn’t contain what Joseph Mohr wrote as “love’s pure light”. And from now on, every time we sing Silent Night, I hope you bounce a little in your seat, hardly able to contain the excitement and thrill. Let everyone else be appropriately solemn, soft and emotive.
You sit there vibrating, thinking about being one of those angels up in the sky over Bethlehem, punching one of the others in the ribs and saying, “LOOK! THERE HE IS! THAT’S HIM! IS THIS COOL OR WHAT?!?!?”
No. I have no definitive proof angels have ribs. Drink your coffee.
© D. Dean Boone, Christmas Day, 2018