Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together. The Lord has spoken!
– Isaiah 40:5
When I was a young teen I was introduced to O. Henry’s short story, “The Gift of the Magi.”
The story centers around a young couple, short on money, seeking to find the perfect gift for their beloved new spouse. In a turn of profound irony, the gifts they each acquire for the other cannot be employed. Instead, the young couple discovers their real gift to one another was deep admiration, sacrificial love, and joy in the glory of their beloved.
O. Henry’s tale is full of revelation, glory, and love. It reveals a gift that manufactured goods, exhilarating experiences, or bright lights vainly seek to express. In self-sacrifice, tenderness, and laying down one’s treasures, the lovers gloried in their beloved.
In Isaiah’s text God makes a promise of a new day when comfort and healing will meet the wounds of the people, sins will be forgiven, a new day of respect and renown will appear. Isaiah’s listeners cannot fathom what he sees. They see the circumstances of the moment: trouble, degradation, emptiness, and more. But the Lord makes a promise, the Lord himself will take action – he will
clear the road, fill in the valleys, and level the mountains. The Lord himself will come among his people through sacrifice, tenderness, and laying down his own treasures, for the sake of his beloved. For your sake and mine.
In the face of the infant Jesus, Mary and Joseph, the shepherds, and others saw God’s glory and love revealed. We can behold his glory and love when we see Jesus’ light expressed in gifts of deep admiration, and sacrificial love. We can behold this glory as Christ himself meets us on our roads, when we hear his promises anew, and we worship in His love for us and the world.
May your day be Merry because of the abiding admiration and love of Christ!
“God has given me an immense desire to see people walk in the hope of Christ. I experience great joy when someone takes a new step of faith, and when a community reflects the hospitality and peace of God’s kingdom.”