Heaven’s experience of Advent.
Never have they seen man’s sin more repulsive and God’s grace more glorious.
I am always amazed how the various people responded to the news of Jesus’ arrival. For example, Zechariah doubted, Mary treasured these truths in her heart and Joseph immediately trusted. But what was heaven’s response? How did the angels respond to the message of Advent? Imagine this night from the perspective of the angels. They were there to see God move in all His glory throughout the events of the Old Testament, and more than that, they would have been in his glorious presence adoring Him, praising Him for centuries and serving Him, but not like this night. This night was different, there was something even more glorious and more was revealed about the nature and character of God when these events took place.
What was revealed? First, the utter repulsiveness of sin. In an old Puritan book, 'The Beauties of Boston', Thomas Boston writes this, “He was the eternal and only begotten Son of God, the brightness of his Father’s glory, and the express image of his person. Yet he must descend from the throne of majesty, divest himself of his robes of insupportable light, take upon him the form of a servant, become a curse, and bleed to death for sin. Did ever sin appear so hateful to God as here? To demonstrate God’s infinite holiness, and hatred of sin, he would have the most glorious and most excellent person in heaven and earth to suffer for it. He would have his own Son to die on a disgraceful cross, and be exposed to the terrible flames of Divine wrath, rather than sin should live, and his holiness remain for ever disparaged by the violations of his law.”
Can you imagine the kind of glory that exploded in heaven when the second member of the trinity, sharing in substance with the Father and Spirit, began to cry as a created human baby? It is staggering. The second aspect of God’s glory revealed here was his amazing grace. I would argue that the news of the arrival of Jesus was as newly glorious in the angels’ wonder and enjoyment of God as it would be to the rest of world! In their lifetime, never had there been such a great display of God’s grace. The incarnation, life, death and resurrection, it’s into these things that the angels longed to look (1 Peter 1:10-12). Now it had begun,"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
I can guarantee that night, those angels sang their lungs out singing, “Glory to God in the highest!” from the depth of their souls like they never had before as they declared Praises to God and peace on earth to whom everyone God reveals his son to. May we too be in awe of His amazing grace who would save a wretch like me.
James Bonney has been a part of Westside Church for the last 4 years, where he currently serves as a Pastor for the North Shore Campus. He's married to Nikki and they have three beautiful children.