What does "Glory to God" mean?

December 13, 2012 admin

snow capped mountainsSuddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest…” (Luke 2:13,14)

Have you ever tried to define glory?

I did some thinking around that in my entry, “What do we mean when we talk about God’s glory?” (September 27th), examining the Hebrew and Greek terms to understand the cultural and biblical usage of the expression.

But today, we use the term most often at Christmas:

  • reading the astonishing story of Jesus’ birth (“and the glory of the Lord shone round about them” Luke 2:9).

  • singing traditional carols (“Glory to God, all glory in the highest, O Come let us adore Him”, “Glories stream from heaven afar”, “Hark the herald angels sing, Glory to the newborn King”, “Gloria, in excelsis Deo”).

So what are we to understand glory to be? Or more to the point, how do we participate in it??

Timothy Keller puts it this way: “You’re glorifying something when you find it beautiful for what it is in itself. Its beauty compels you to adore it, to have your imagination captured by it.”*

So I have to ask myself:

Do I revel in the beauty of the Father, not for what I get from Him, but for Who He is?

Am I able to appreciate the magnificence of the Lord Jesus to the degree that I am compelled to adore Him?

Is my imagination captured by the splendour of the Holy Spirit?

Takeaway: Triune God, please deepen my appreciation for You. You have blessed me beyond my comprehension; but teach me to increasingly value You simply because of Who You are.

*Timothy Keller, King’s Cross, Dutton Publishers