New Beginnings: Good News in glorious light - 14 December 2021
By Louise Gevers
Like all grandmothers, I can truthfully say that my granddaughter is the brightest, cutest and most intelligent child I know, and that her birth for me was a new beginning of simple joy in loving her, and surprising enlightenment through seeing the world and the wonder of life afresh through her bright, perceptive eyes.
My ‘Age of Enlightenment’ probably began in Class 1 when I enthusiastically plunged into the fascinating world of reading, writing, arithmetic and, unexpectedly, at year end, my first encounter with angels – causing me naïve consternation that had nothing to do with the angels themselves – it was all about the wings!
Our teacher had announced that we’d be doing a Nativity play – a what? – something I soon understood when she pulled out the biggest, shiniest wings I’d seen, which she proceeded to give to the tallest girl in the class; leaving the rest of us to have small ones because we were just the heavenly host! All I wanted was to be Gabriel, not understanding who the real Star of the play actually was. Somehow, I don’t think this mistake is always limited to children.
It’s striking that the angel’s news to the shepherds about the birth of Jesus is both enlightening and is also accompanied by God’s brilliant light which, “shone over them”, a beautiful and fitting metaphor of what the One who “wraps himself in light as with a garment” (Psalm 104:2) stands for in holiness, transparency and purity. And that the first to hear the angel’s joyful news were humble shepherds in a field.
Was it co-incidence that shepherds first heard the news? Jesus would one day identify with the humblest occupation of that time and call Himself “The Good Shepherd” of us all: “He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.” (Isaiah 40:11)
What did it mean to them to hear the angels say, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests”? (Luke 2:13) We know that it illumined and transformed them because they immediately went to find Him. They were not disappointed. CS Lewis said, “Once in our world, a stable had something in it that was bigger than our whole world”.
“For God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:6, NIV)
May “the glory of the Lord shine over (us)” so that with vibrant hearts we, too, can find the Christ Child and hear again the good news of the angel, allowing us to see life afresh through His glorious eyes, and enabling us to “sing in exultation” the song of the angel choirs: “O come let us adore Him”.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, may the glorious light of the Good news of our Saviour’s birth flood our hearts and minds this Christmas. Amen