Paul Baloche wrote this great devotional that I want to share with you as you prepare for Christmas. He shares an interesting perspective.
Did you ever realize that, on the night Jesus was born, everyone was looking up? Shepherds, wise men, King Herod and his soldiers, men, women, children...everyone! We have no written record of how many people on earth saw the star that night, but no living thing could long ignore the glorious sky burning overhead.
“Gloria In Excelsis Deo...Glory to God In the Highest!” These well-known words from a Latin mass written in the dark ages repeat over and over: “Up! Keep Looking upward! Keep your eyes focused upon the Heavens! Lift your heart and hands to the One who is higher!”
We see those same words beautifully echoed by Paul in Colossians 3:1-4: “Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all His glory.”
Could this be an ancient wisdom modern believers have somehow trivialized? The media seeks to remind us, every second of every day, how brutal our world has become. And when our eyes and ears have been saturated with grisly images of human hatred, we are tempted to look around in horror instead of looking upward in hope.
May it never be.
The promise of God's Kingdom is as magnificent as it was that night in Bethlehem. Although many will shake their heads in surrender to doubt and fear, God is unchanged. Although everything on this earth will be shaken, the Kingdom of God is unshakeable. And the only way we will be able to survive the groaning of earth is to focus on the Glory of God. No other comfort will suffice. No other hope will be available to us in the days to come.
When European monks began to chant about the glory of God during the dark ages, human life was pretty grim. Countless millions were dying from disease, war, famine, pestilence and despair. Religious persecution was everywhere, and being burned at the stake was a common occurrence. Yet in that dismal world, incredible worship could be heard rising above the squalor. Men were building magnificent cathedrals with spires reaching higher and higher towards the heavens. The faithful had learned to look upward, ever upward, because there wasn't much hope to be found by gazing at their civilization.
And so, this Christmas eve, let us set our eyes once more on Things Above. When we gather together with our loved ones, give to the poor and show mercy to the stranger, let us keep our eyes focused on the heavens, because the Glory of the Lord is our strong tower. And it is the only hope that will not disappoint.