I have family members who are not members of God’s family (yet). One of them, knowing my faith, reminds me upon occasion that she does not need “a white male to save her.” I forget that the culture in the USA usually shows Jesus as a white male. Since he was a Jew (probably had dark, curly hair, with brown eyes and olive skin tones, I have to agree with her. There is no white male to save us. There is only Jesus. He became flesh and made his dwelling among us (John 1:14). For those of us who are in God’s family, “we have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
But what does it mean “to see his glory”? Is it some aura thing that only the most holy can see? Nope. Is it some internal feeling where you never have dark days because God’s glory is with you? Nope.
There are actually several Hebrew words and one Greek word that are translated as “glory”. They each have slightly different overtones of meaning. We won’t pause to do a word study here (though feel free to go there yourself!). The gist of all these words is the outshining of God: His character, attributes, majesty, importance, honor, and presence.
Further, scripture tells us that God’s glory is not a secret. He is manifest in the world around us (Romans 1: 19-20; Psalm 19: 1-2). Being manifest in the world, however, was not enough – God actually desires us to see his glory in heaven as well. To this end, He became flesh to show us the way.
He came to be our kinsman redeemer from sin. (Romans 8:17, Hebrews 2:11)
He came to be our propitiation. (Hebrews 2:17)
He came to be our friend. (John 15:15)
And because He is those things, He also came to make our joy complete. (John 15:11)
As we each go about our Christmas celebrations, we can see the glory of God around us, in us, and among us. Oh, not the fullness of God’s glory – we won’t see that until we are in Heaven. But here on earth, wherever we see love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control there you see a piece of the glory of God. Whenever we see a sunrise so glorious that moves us to tears, there you see another bit of the glory of God. As we see a person sacrifice for someone else, there we see yet another slice of the glory of God. These things have no skin color – they have no gender. They are the glory of God made manifest in you and I, his vessels of mercy (Romans 9:23). For He is Immanuel – God With Us, the Word become flesh in a wee babe.
May God open your eyes to see His glory this Christmas – and may your joy be complete!