“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We observed his glory, the glory as the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”John 1:14
Praise God from whom all blessings flow
Praise him all creatures here below
Praise him above ye heavenly host
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost
The above lyrics are well known by most Christians. They were originally published by Thomas Ken, in 1709, as the final verse of three different Christian hymns.1 Today, they are sung in churches, homes and other various gathering places wherever followers of the Lord Jesus would reflect on the goodness and greatness of God and return their contemplation back to him in a song of praise. But what is a “doxology”? Technically, a “doxology” is a formulaic, lyrical reflection on God’s glory.
God’s δόξα (glory) is an impossible concept to convey with a human word. The Bible is replete with usages of the term. The Old Testament knows several different Hebrew words that we translate to the English, “glory.” New Testament writers settle on just the one Greek word that is the focus of today’s devotion. But still, how could a human word embody the brightness, the radiance, the weightiness, and the pervasiveness of God’s eternal glory? Truthfully, a human word cannot. But the heavenly Word can. The heavenly λόγος embodies perfectly what a human word could never fully convey.
“δόξα – The heavenly Word perfectly embodied the glory of God that a human word could never fully convey.”Tweet
John walked and talked with Jesus for several years. He watched as the one from heaven “revealed his glory” to men for the first time in the wedding miracle at Cana of Galilee (John 2:11). He listened as the glory-bearer himself rebuked the religious elite for valuing the lesser glory of men more than the greater glory of God (John 5:44). He marveled at the λόγος’s prayer to the Father in Heaven in anticipation of the restoration of his own eternal glory, and that this glory might be extended to John and the other disciples as well (John 17:5, 22).
But perhaps no moment on John’s timeline stood out as more glorious than the one he shared with the λόγος on the Mount of Transfiguration. There, along with his two best friends in the ministry, John “saw his glory,” (Matthew 17:1, Luke 9:28-32). John never saw with his own eyes the δόξα of Jesus’s infancy. But he did behold the δόξα of Jesus’s ministry, of Jesus’s transfiguration and of Jesus’s resurrection.
John’s gospel teaches even the modern reader that the δόξα of the λόγος is made knowable to all who would look to the Lord Jesus in simple faith—whether in his nativity, his earthly ministry, his sacrificial death, his resurrection, or even today in his superintending heavenly Lordship over all. He invites the reader into the story if only he or she will embrace the “we” of the covenant community of faith… “We beheld his glory.”
What do you see when you look upon the Lord Jesus in this season? Some see innocence, peace, and humility. Some see nostalgia or sentimentality. But those who look to the Lord with eyes of faith see δόξα. They see the brightness, the radiance, the weightiness and the pervasiveness of God’s glory penetrating the darkest places of human existence.
What will it look like for the δόξα of the λόγος to penetrate the darkest places of your life this Christmas? What areas of your life are in desperate need of the glory of God to overwhelm the fear, the complacency, the cynicism, the shame, or the pain? And how will you know when the radiance of God’s glory is breaking through in your world the same way it broke through that first Christmas night?
The λόγος became σάρξ and ἐσκήνωσεν among us. We observed his δόξα…
Keep an expectant eye out for the glory of the Lord to break through in the darkest places of your world this Christmas season.
Grace and Peace,