Glory to God in the Highest

Once again, the month of December, a month that is so significant in the life of a Christian, is come upon us with its many joys and happiness. Around about us we see everyone hustling and bustling, making plans for the holiday. The business districts are over-crowded with everyone buying gifts for friends and loved ones; family gatherings are being planned around large holiday dinners, and everybody is filled with the spirit of Christmas.

When we look at Christmas with its family gatherings, large dinners, gifts and brightly-lighted trees, we find that we are completely missing the real, true and glorious meaning of which the day is a symbol. To find real Christmas joy, we need only to go to the Scriptures and read the glad tidings of great joy: “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Such was the brief but tremendously significant gospel of what God had done for the salvation of His people. The world may change the joy of the day, that unto us is born a Saviour that is able to remove the fear of sin and death from our souls, into a rejoicing in the things of the earth. Let them hide this heavenly joy under the worldly idea of Christmas joy. Nevertheless, its joy cannot remove the fear of our sin, nor can it cleanse the heart from sin and deliver our soul from death and condemnation.

Its joy is not the joy of the gospel. “For unto you is born a Saviour!” This is the real true spirit of Christmas. And what is a Saviour? As Rev. Hoeksema has so ably explained it in one of his books, “It is one who is able to deliver us from the greatest evil; one who is not only fully able, but who also surely shall deliver His people from all their misery. And what is that greatest evil? It is that which causes our hearts to tremble with miserable fear of condemnation and damnation in the presence of the Lord. It is our guilt and our sin, our corruption and our death, our hatred and enmity against the Most High, our darkness and foolishness, our being in the power of the devil and in the slavery of unrighteousness. A Saviour is one who, while delivering us from that greatest of all evils, will make us partakers of the highest good.

And what is that highest good? It is all that lies at the root of that great joy of which the angel speaks, of that joy which we may experience in the presence of the Lord. It is to be cleansed from sin and clothed with righteousness, to be delivered from the power of the devil and to be subjects of Him that purchased us with the precious price of His blood. It is righteousness and holiness, love, life, light, and eternal glory. It is to taste that the Lord is gracious and to dwell in the fellowship of His covenant-communion, to know Him as we are known, to love Him because He loved us, to see Him face to face and behold His beauty. It is to be heirs of the heavenly Kingdom.”

Such is the joy of Christmas; and seeing it in this light, we as Christians may rejoice and be glad, giving praise and Glory to God in the Highest.