Glory, Peace, and Joy
During the whole history of mankind it was the first time the angels praise in an audible and understandable voice for people. This praise is an invitation to glorify God and to declare peace on earth and joy among people. The reason behind this heavenly phenomenon is that God came into our world and became with us “Emmanuel” who means God is with us. This angelical praise declares that the kingdom of the coming Messiah is a kingdom of peace and joy, as Christ came to our world as a king to reign over us. (Jn. 18:36,37) Truly, peace on earth and joy among men depend on glorifying God.
Glory Be to God in the Highest
This glorification by the angels at the birth of Christ proves that the humble submission of God during His incarnation didn’t decrease His glory, but rather, it reveals His great might to make Himself of no reputation (Eph. 2:7). It is the glory of His humility that covered all His divine characters.
Through His mighty acts
As He said, “But truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord … because all these men who have seen My glory and the signs that I did in Egypt and in the wilderness ... they certainly shall not see this land.” (Num. 14:21, 22, 23)
Examples: as in the creation, passing the red sea, (Ex. 14:18) giving the manna and quails, (Ex. 16:7) and in salvation to deliver His people as well (Is. 35:1-4; 44:23; 40:5).
Through revealing His glory
- When the Israelites saw His glory appearing in the cloud as a divine ray (Ex. 16:10). This event makes us understand Moses’ request to see His glory (Ex. 33:18).
- On mount Sinai, the glory of God appeared as consuming fire on the top of the mountain (Ex. 24:15-17; Dt. 5:22-24). When Moses came near to it in the midst of the cloud, his face was shining (Ex. 34:29) that the Israelites couldn’t look at him.
- The divine glory appeared at the tabernacle on the ark of covenant, sanctifying it and the congregation too (Ex. 29:43). From that time on, Israel devoted himself to minister that glory that appeared to them. (Lev. 9:6,23,24)
- The divine glory filled the temple (1 Kg. 8:10-12) until the exile to indicate the wrath of God (Ez. 9:3). Isaiah also saw the glory of God (Is. 6:1-3) as he saw the Lord sitting on His throne and the train of His garment filled the temple and the seraphim praised His glory.
The main fact revealed in the New Testament is the permanent relation between that glory and Christ, as His own glory. Being the Son of God, He is “the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person.” (Heb. 1:3) This glory shines from His face, “for it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6). From there, His glory shines over all people. “How will the ministry of the spirit not be more glorious? For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory.” (2 Cor. 3:8) “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the spirit of the Lord” (2 Cor. 3:18). Truly He is the “Lord of glory” (1 Cor. 2:8).
Through His resurrection and ascension, Christ entered into His divine glory that He had before the foundation of the world (Jn. 17:24) “Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” (Lk. 24:26)
“The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers glorified His servant Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate” (Acts 3:13; see also 1 Pet. 1,21; 1 Tim. 3:16). It was the same glory seen by St. Stephen at the time of his martyrdom (Acts 7:55).
In fact, His glory appeared along His life starting by His birth (Lk. 2:9,10), His baptism, His transfiguration (Lk. 9:32, 2 Pet. 1:17,18), etc.
It is our duty to proclaim and praise His glory.
Peace on Earth
By the birth of Christ, the King of Peace, all mankind and the whole earth enjoyed peace. This peace exceeds that of earth with all its enjoyments, calmness and safety. Since the world is changeable, its state of peace is also changeable, but heavenly peace is permanent, eternal and unchangeable. This is the reason all generations were waiting for the coming of the Prince of Peace prophesied by Isaiah and other prophets, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder and His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Is. 9:6).
Through Christ, the Son of God and the Son of Man, the era of reconciliation and peace with God started. “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1). He reconciled mankind with God, the earthly with the heavenly, and unified the Jews and Gentiles. “Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation” (2 Cor. 5:18-20; see also Col. 1:20).
This divine gift of peace does not prevent tribulations, but rather strengthens us over it, and accordingly, increases that peace in us (Jn. 14:27; Col. 3:12-17).
Only the righteous enjoyed that peace as a fruit of righteousness. (Jam. 3:18) “There is no peace, says the Lord, for the wicked” (Is. 48:22; 57:21) because wickedness removes peace. (Jer. 8:15) Unless sin dies in us, peace will be just a wish and a desire.
Our Lord Jesus encouraged us to gain that peace, to live with everyone in peace and to make peace (Mt. 5:9). Also, it is the same commandment in the apostles’ teaching (Eph. 4:3; 6:10; Rom. 14:19; 2 Cor. 13:11).
Goodwill towards Men
The birth of the savior filled all with joy and goodwill (Lk. 1:14). Even before His birth, John the Baptist, still a fetus in his mother’s womb, rejoiced (Lk. 1:41-44). Also, St. Mary rejoiced during the Annunciation (Lk. 1:28) and praised her Son joyfully for saving the humble (Lk. 1:42, 46-55).
Even the heavenly creatures expressed their joy declaring His birth and praising Him (Lk. 2:10, 13, 14). This fulfilled David’s prophecy, “Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad ... before the Lord for He is coming” (Ps. 96:11-13). Truly all creation rejoiced at His coming.
The source of true rejoicing is the presence and existence with God, “Emmanuel.” You need to have a personal and strong relationship with Him as He does with you.
Joy, actually, is one of the fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22) and a characteristic of the kingdom of God. (Rom. 14:17) It is a spiritual joy, an eternal one. Those who have a share in the wedding of the Lamb will enjoy it, and glorify God with Joy. (Rev. 19:7-9)