Praise the wet snow falling early. Praise the shadow my neighbor’s chimney casts on the tile roof even this gray October day that should, they say, have been golden. Praise the invisible sun burning beyond the white cold sky, giving us light and the chimney’s shadow. Praise god or the gods, the unknown, that which imagined us, which stays our hand, our murderous hand, and gives us still, in the shadow of death, our daily life, and the dream still of goodwill, of peace on earth. Praise flow and change, night and the pulse of day. ~Denise Levertov from “Gloria”
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. Luke 2:14
There is something of heaven in the blending of voices of all ages, singing in a candle-lit Christmas Eve service, telling the old old story once again. It was like this for us at the Chapel tonight.
This is a time for joy, this is a time for love.
Now let us all sing together of peace,
peace on earth.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” Luke 2: 13-14
Glory comes first, first before anything else. Glory is God reaching down: it emanates from God, is the essence of God, is our hope and joy to witness through God coming to earth to dwell among us. We too easily forget that His glory is the reason for which we and everything else was created, that we God breathed his glory into us with that first breath we take.
The world will know no peace, man can know no good will until we glorify God first and foremost. We are here because he created us in his image to reflect that bright and shining light. Our stubborn choices, our faults and sins sully that reflection. We fail to respond with gratitude to the grace we are given, we are self-centered, less humble and forgiving than he designed us to be, we defy his intentions by denying our existence has a glorifying purpose. We are in sore need of a savior to set us straight again to reflect his glory, to breathe it in and sing it out with every word we utter.
The heavenly host makes it overwhelmingly clear: we are to glorify God first, first before anything else. Then all else good and wonderful will come to pass.
And to think the shepherds got a peek of what he looked like that night in a manger. A glorious plan. A glorious God.