Advent: Glory in Unexpected Places (Luke 2:1–20)

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Christmas is a time when we see God’s glory in unexpected places. Peace comes from the city of David, not Rome. A Savior is born in a manger, not a palace. Shepherds and angels are messengers of this good news, not priests or prophets. As we meditate on this message of Christmas this year, we want to celebrate how we have seen God’s glory in unexpected places this Christmas. How does His glory show up?

First, His peace comes from a stable in Bethlehem, not an army in Rome (Luke 2:1–11). While the peace of Rome was a peace of the sword, the peace of Bethlehem was a peace of God’s word. This peace was not simply a peace inside the heart but a peace that brought change to their world. And this type of peace shows up from an unexpected place — through Jesus. We are called to bring this peace into our world, the peace of Jesus that comes not from our power but out of our weakness.

Second, His glory shines in a manger, not in a palace (Luke 2:12–14). Sometimes the most messy, broken, and imperfect situations are where we see the glory of God penetrate most powerfully and beautifully. The surprises of life are places we see his glory shine most brightly

Finally, his message comes through shepherds, not priests (Luke 2:15–20). Being a was not exactly the most respected position in society. It was seen as dirty and required work around the clock. It didn’t take a great education. It didn’t demand a lot of training. Important people weren’t usually shepherds. Yet shepherds were the messengers chosen to proclaim the moment upon which the axis of all of history turned. Similarly, God spread this message of Jesus through unschooled, ordinary fishermen.

Christmas reminds us that God works through broken vessels. His power works through weaknesses, His glory shines in a manger, His peace comes from a stable in Bethlehem and His message comes through shepherds. May the Lord open up our eyes to His glory in unexpected places this Christmas.

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