For the Christian, Christmas is the grand celebration of the Glory of God coming down to earth. While it is quite natural to focus in on the humble baby in the manger, the grace of God displayed in the Creator humbling Himself to take on human flesh for the sake of a world of sinners like us should overwhelm the manger scene. The irony of the Splendor of Heaven leaving His throne to take on the confines of human flesh drive us to exalt (glorify) the God of all for His amazing grace. That said, the glory of God is one of the most challenging concepts for us mere mortals to comprehend. Throughout the Old Testament Scriptures we see snapshots of God’s glory in relationship to His physical splendor and righteous character. Those glimpses of God compel us trust and obey. Yet in those Old Testament accounts of do’s and don’ts it is easy for us to lose focus on the core character of God.
God is more than just the things He does. However, when we look at the motivations behind what He does, we get a glimpse of His nature, who He really is. The Apostle John lived with Jesus and watched Him build relationships and minister truth to people, and he recorded in 1 John 4:8 that “God is love.” In a very real way, the more we understand His love for us, the more we are driven to love Him. That is a foundational truth that can compel us to keep the Great Command to “love the Lord your God with all your heart….” Sharing our hearts is how we build strong relationships. It is super valuable to clearly understand who God is in His core nature. That is a concept that, given our broken mess of a darkened spiritual condition, can only be grappled with by looking at the Light of Life, Jesus of Nazareth.
Though before Jesus was born into human flesh, the Incarnation, we had record of how God acted and what He felt, it was Jesus becoming the Living Word in the flesh that opened the door, bringing the Light of Truth to our darkened understanding of who God is and gave us an in the flesh example of the loving nature of God Himself. As we look at Jesus’ life and how He handled the mundane judgments and decisions of daily life, we see the amazing grace of God’s heart. We literally got to see how God would live life as a human.
The Gospels record Jesus’ teachings on a number of daily life issues and His teachings are hard, counter-intuitive in some ways, yet starkly revealing God’s heart as He deals with man. His first sign miracle was recorded in John 2; he turned the water into wine at the wedding party. In that act, God in the flesh showed grace in the mundane daily needs at a family party. He cared about the simple things that his mother thought were important. So, how does God respond to our mundane daily needs? It appears that He cares enough to do something about them.
In John 4 we have another great picture as Jesus heals the official’s son. After listening to the official’s heartache over the imminent loss of his son, in an act of God’s amazing grace, Jesus heals him. Jesus is gracious to us in the heartaches and losses of life. That is great news for each of us as we have heartache and loss scattered throughout our lives.
The third picture is of Jesus’s glorious grace is found in John 8, where the scribes and Pharisees bring an adulteress woman to Jesus to try to trick Him into breaking Roman law and proclaiming that she should be killed (according to Jewish law), thus also showing him to be harsh and condemning. The game backfired on them as Jesus merely squats down and writes something in the sand. One by one the accusers leave and Jesus tells the woman to go on with life and stay out of sin. This record reveals that, even in the face of sinful people caught up in sinful situations, Jesus came to earth not to condemn, but to save (John 3:17). In this account we also see that Jesus came to deal with heart issues. Obviously Jesus was also concerned that the sinner turn away from the physical sin, but His focus was on the heart needs of the men that brought the woman to him. They were willing to sacrifice the woman to “get” Jesus. Two great truths can be gleaned here. God reads our hearts and convicts us on to make righteous choices.
Jesus’ glorious grace, displayed in human form, was the ultimate act of God’s gracious love for us. We rejoice in His birth, His life, His death, and His resurrection. His grace is displayed in our salvation and our sanctification. Someday we will be the ultimate display of His grace in our glorification (Eph. 1-3) in Heaven! Praise our glorious God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who came to show us His grace in the mundane, daily struggles of life. He came to show us how to glorify Him through the heartaches of loss. In the ultimate revelation of His grace, on the cross He was glorified to take on our sin and pay the price of our condemnation so we could glorify God with freedom from the bondage of sin.
How then, like the Apostle Paul, will we “live Christ” in our interactions with those we love? Will we meet out grace in our correction of sin in our children? Will we respond with humble grace in that relationship that has, so far, evoked anger and bitterness or disappointment? Will we reflect the Light of Life by graciously loving those around us, thus provoking them to see the glorious grace of our loving Lord?
Soli Deo Gloria! Glory to God Alone!
Victory Family Ministries
We're a group of folks who love helping teens and families. We also love learning and sharing what God has taught us in our over 50 cumulative years of working with families and teens.