“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace among people with whom He is pleased.” Luke 2:14 (NASB)
It was a cold Sunday in late November …
… and I was driving my 3-year and 19-month-old daughters to church. They were sitting in the back seat as we listened to one of our favorite Christmas albums, Christmas: Acoustic Sessions, by Phil Wickham. The classic song, “Angels We Have Heard on High,” graced the audio waves with the Latin chorus, “Gloria, in Excelsis Deo,” which translates to “Glory to God in the highest.” Then, as is often the case, my 3-year-old (with her 3-year-old brain and mouth) asked me a question:
What does that [Glory to God] mean?
As I quickly tried to find an answer to her question, my mind was immediately drawn to that night in Bethlehem, where a bunch of dirty, nobody shepherds beheld an angelic choir that proclaimed those very words:
“Glory to God in the highest, And on earth, peace among people with whom he is pleased.” (Luke 2:14)
And that led me to the two major reasons Christ came to earth as a baby:
- First, it reminded me that the only goal Jesus had while on earth was to glorify God. Every act Jesus performed; every person He made whole; every word that came from His lips; every act of mercy He demonstrated to the least of the least – even unto His own death on the cross – was to the glory of His Father.
From a tiny baby in a manger to a victorious King stepping out of a tomb, everything Jesus did was to show to the world His Father’s majesty!
- Second, my toddler’s question brought to mind one of the greatest rewards that Christ gives to His people: PEACE. In a world marked by war, chaos and strife, in Jesus, we can have peace that surpasses even the most erratic moments imaginable. God knows that our greatest need has been and always will be peace found only in Him.
To quote the Apostle Paul: “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we now have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ ” (Romans 5:1).
And exactly how did I respond to my 3-year-old daughter’s question? To answer a truly complex question with a simple answer, I replied:
“Jesus was born to help us see God’s beauty. [Giving God glory is our way of thanking Him for the awesome thing He has done.]”
And for now, at least, that was all she needed to make her happy!
In summary, I can think of no better words than those of the musician, Chris Rice:
Fragile finger sent to heal us
Tender brow prepared for thorn
Tiny heart whose blood will save us
Unto us is born
Unto us is born
GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST, Christian, for Jesus Christ has purchased our peace!
Written by Austin Baker, Teaching Pastor, Johnson Ferry Baptist Church