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Christmas to the Glory of God

4 December, 2007

b and lilyHere are some excerpts on ‘doing Christmas’ from a great little congregational letter from my minister here in Aberdeen, Dominic Smart:

Where does it all lead? Christmas, I mean. Not the midwinter festival transfigured by worship Dominic Smartand witness, but the incarnation — the word becoming flesh — where does it lead?

Everything that is made possible by the miracle of grace in Bethlehem’s stable, in Mary’s womb, leads on to God’s glory. The final destination, the goal and the eternal fruitfulness, the point and purpose and all fulfilment are summed up in this one phrase: the glory of God.

So Jesus’ life of perfect obedience on our behalf leads to the glory of the Father to whom he offered each day, of himself the true Son, and of the Spirit by whom he lived.

His wearingly intense battles against the evil one all lead to the glory of the Creator who set up enmity with Satan in the garden after the fall, declaring then that victory would come through Eve’s seed.

His teaching, so devastatingly true and so winsome, so wise and searingly good, all glorifies the Father whose word was the meat and drink by which he lived. The integrity of the one who lived every word that he spoke, the authority of the one who relied on no earthly authority, the grace of the one who spoke from the fullness of grace and truth — all of it reverberates through time to the glory of God.

His miraculous signs are, John tells us, the means by which he reveals his glory as the Christ, the long-promised Messiah, God’s anointed King.

His anguish in Gethsemane; his re-forming the servant’s ear and rejection of the sword; his silent submission as he was led like a lamb to the slaughter; his carrying of the cross; his strong yielding to the nails, to the thirst, to the pain, to the violence; his bearing of our death; his faith in the Father to whom he committed himself; his victory cry “It is accomplished!” — all of his dying glorifies God as it proclaims God’s righteousness in the saving of sinners.

His triumphant resurrection; his glorious ascension to the right hand of the Father on high as co-regent in the throne-room of the cosmos; his perfect, priestly prayerfulness for us at Abba’s throne; his imminent return in clouds of glory; his faultless, plumb-line judgment of the living and the dead; his everlasting praise from all the hosts of heaven and all the company of the church — all of it happens for the glory of God.

He came to bring glory to God and every step along the way, every blessing that we can count, every sin forgiven, every gift given, every turn in our lives that he guides us through, every trial endured and pain that he helps us to bear, every prayer that is heard and every moment of our lives that is fruitful — all of it leads to the glory of God.

It’s not so much that there’s nothing better to live for than God’s glory, it’s that being alive in Christ there is no actual alternative to living for his glory; only denial. It’s not, to pick up on the Catechism’s first question and answer, that there are several ‘chief ends of man’, there’s only one — by God’s ordaining. The so-called alternatives are only clever ways of missing the point of his perfect human life and thus ours.

So see the baby in the manger….Take full stock of the fact that he makes our humanity holy. See, in the point and purpose of Bethlehem’s stable, the point and purpose of your life — your re-created, re-born, redeemed, restored and reconciled life. And hear the angels’ song that echoed above the hills around Bethlehem resounding above our wondering world: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests.”

Have a Christmas that is made glorious by Christ, in the pleasures and even in those all-too familiar moments of the heart’s pain and the body’s weariness.”

Dominic Smart

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2 Comments
  1. 5 December, 2007 5:46 pm

    wow. beautiful. u do have a great preacher in the land of golf, bagpipes and kilts.

    makes up for the utility companies over there.

  2. 7 December, 2007 4:53 pm

    That was awesome. I even went to the church website and downloaded a sermon….I love love love the accent…..

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