Glooooooooooooooooo-ria...In excelsis Deo... All week long I’ve been singing this song and now I feel it’s real meaning sinking deep in my spirit.
Imagine the heavenlies. The angel armies of God mightily but silently at work for 400 years. Malachai wrote the last inspired words and then the hush fell. 400 years of, “Where are You God?”
My faith wavers when mere days go by and I don’t see Him moving and orchestrating the tiny pieces of my life. But, it seems the greatest works come after a long silence. Because, it’s in the waiting, in the great anticipation, when we walk ourselves up to the edge of doubt and just stick our toes in, that God prepares a heart room for Him.
400 years and then He says, It’s time.
An old man, a priest, childless and almost forgotten in His own mind is the first to experience the silence shatter.
“Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him...”
400 years and then an angel appeared to an unsuspecting, old man and God promises what He always promises...
A baby will be born. A new generation. A boy who will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before He is born. He will prepare the way. He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the rebellious to the wisdom of the righteous. He will make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
Small voices are behind me as I write, right now. I think about the miracle each of them is. I think how I had great plans to prepare their hearts for Christmas this year...some I have held to and with others I just failed. Many mornings this December with an unprepared heart I have yelled and shrieked and felt sorry for my tired self. Many mornings this December, rather than preparing room for Him to be the center of our Christmas season, my self-centered ambitions have taken up all the room in this sinful heart.
So, this morning, as we sing it over and over, “Gloria! In Excelsis Deo!,” I am reminded that it is in the wrestling, the waiting, the doubts, and the tired tears that God is bringing forth something new. All the pain, all the suffering, all the sleepless nights are not in vain.
As the shepherds were living their very normal lives, a heavenly host interrupted their very normal night with a chorus of “Glory to God in the Highest,” and in the midst of their circumstances, whatever they might have been, God unleashed His glory for the everyday, common, unassuming ones in a field one starry night.
400 years and then it shattered, it started with one angel promising a boy and then Gabriel promising a Way to break the silence for good.
A baby would be born and His name would be Jesus. He would be Son of the Most High God. And, only one more time would there be silence again. This sweet baby boy who would grow to be a man would suffer the silence one last time on a cross. Forsaken for us so we don’t have to be...His blood washing us white as snow.
The Bug asked me a question a few days ago about Jesus. In this holy moment I spoke to her about the advent we are in right now as we wait for Him to come back again. It’s been many long years in a world groaning and aching for all things to be made right.
She said, “I want to see Jesus.”
I said, “Well, even though we may not see Him with our eyes we can see Him in other ways, right?”
She answered in her five year old wisdom, “Yes! I can see Him with my heart!”
Yes, you can sweet girl! Even in the days that the crankies take over and the squabbles are out of control and all a mama wants is to drink her coffee gone before it’s cold, in this normal, everyday life, we can sing with angels. We can prepare the room in our hearts to see Him.
And, see Him we will, in miracles, big and small. In sunrises that seep through a window shade; in a smile from a broken-hearted, in a wild-child brimming with anticipation of presents and presence; in a loved one healed, one made whole; in a hand of comfort over a shattered life. In this in between, in this waiting we can see Him with our hearts as we hold on to the promise of what will come...
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Revelation 21:1-5.