The Quietest Glory

We have this little porcelain nativity scene. I’m not sure where we got it, but it’s been part of our Christmases forever. A few years ago someone gave us two angels that dwarf the other figurines, but my youngest always puts them right behind Mary and Joseph.

Those towering angels make me think of the imagery in Psalm 18 of God Himself soaring in to rescue on the back of a cherub — not exactly the classic Raphael picture of fluffy little winged babies. Scripture consistently depicts angels as powerful warriors, sometimes terrifying and enormous (see Isaiah 6:1-4, Ezekiel 1:11-13, and Revelation 7:1).

When the hosts of heaven appeared to the shepherds the night Jesus was born, they probably didn’t look like an ephemeral floating choir. Can you imagine? The sky was full of huge, fiery holiness, vibrating with intense worship, reflecting and voicing glory like nothing humankind had ever seen.

But the sky that night couldn’t compare to the Glory gasping our air into His tiny lungs. His little cry, heard only by a woman, a man, and a handful of scruffy animals, echoed louder in the heavens than the thunder song of the hosts He had created.

Sometimes the quietest glory is the greatest.

We’re used to thinking of glory as big and obvious and bold, but — like most things — I’m pretty sure we don’t really understand it yet.

I think God sees an explosion of glory when a sweet young mama in Indiana chooses to put her feet on the floor at the beginning of another day of living the reality that she just buried her five-year-old boy. God sees the profound worship in her willingness to keep breathing, to keep moving under the weight of impossible grief.

There’s quiet, mighty glory when two friends, both years into heaven-and-hell battles for their grown firstborns, text each other Scripture-soaked reminders to keep praying with faith rooted in God’s love.

Glory glows warm around the edges of every gracious word spoken and every ungracious one held back. It flows strong around every hard obedience, every choice to love the unlovely, every decision tethered to hope instead of despair, every courageous movement from brokenness towards healing, every dormant seed of belief breaking open and taking root.

The greatest glory happens in the quietest places, where death is transformed into life.

In the hidden silence with the least fanfare, where the glory weight of God’s Spirit hushes us still, He sees the bright, humble bending. He sees our luminous surrender to the Word, and the song He sings into those quietest moments holds the glory of the ages. And the angels rejoice all over again.

Because this is why Jesus came.

“In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it… So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.” ~John 1:1-5, 14 (NLT)

3 Comments

  1. Rhonda
    Dec 18, 2018

    This is a crescendo…I felt it stir down deep:)

  2. Jean Davis
    Dec 19, 2018

    I always appreciate your writings! Excellent!

  3. Nancy Hudson
    Dec 20, 2018

    Moving, profound, blessed. Your words nourish.

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