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And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory
of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with
fear (Luke 2:9).
One Christmas memory always makes me shudder. I'm
sitting in a classroom dressed in costume and drenched
in sweat. It's not that the costume is too heavy or the
room too hot, I'm sweating because the children's
Christmas program starts in five minutes, and I'm so
nervous I can't remember a single word of my part!
Sheer terror! It's amazing how many times Luke mentions
that terror as he describes the first Christmas. First, there
was Zechariah in the temple, then Mary; now it's the
shepherds' turn. They are sitting quietly watching their
sheep on a dark night, when bright light suddenly
surrounds them. An angel stands before them shining in
glorious splendor. But that's not the source of the brightest
light. God's own glory is shining all around them. Their
reaction isn't unusual for a sinner in the presence of a holy
spirit creature, let alone the brightness of God's own glory.
Luke wrote in the original Greek, "they feared with great fear."
Actually, that was the same light the Son of God had been
radiating in heaven, before this world was created. But He
concealed that glory when He became human and came to
our dark world to save us from death and hell by His life,
death and resurrection. Because of Jesus' ultimate sacrifice
we will be able to stand before Him without fear, when He
returns to judge the world. Then throughout eternity we will
 bask in the glorious light of God's presence forever.
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your gracious presence
among us. Cleanse us from our sins through Jesus our
Savior, that we may live in Your glorious presence forever
when He comes again. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
(Advent Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries)

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