I’ve always wanted to be an artist, a painter; trouble is, I have no talent… whatsoever! But that hasn’t stopped me from picking up a brush and pushing paint around a canvas from time to time. I like the process, though I usually paint over the result and recycle. It’s a very economical hobby.
Early in December, I decided I would create a Christmas piece. I’d learned how to spatter paint using a balloon and I envisioned using the technique to create a big explosion of white paint onto a black canvas. I wanted to visually depict Isaiah’s prediction of the birth of Jesus:
Isaiah 40:5 “And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed.”
The white would symbolize the light, Jesus, bursting into humanity fully revealing the glory of God to a dark world.
Once I’d injected the white paint into the balloon, I wound up and with my best girl-throw, hurled the balloon at the canvas. It plopped onto the canvas, right where it was supposed to, then bounced up and off the canvas landing about 6 feet away. Then it burst. There was white paint everywhere. On the natural cedar fence, on a planter, our patio, the flowers, grass and on me. The ‘glory of the Lord’ was everywhere in our backyard!
God’s Glory in Unusual Places
That thought immediately came to mind. There’s glory everywhere. And almost as quickly I heard a divine whisper: “Yes. And My glory shows up in the most unusual places!” I laughed out loud. And then began scrubbing paint. But for the next few hours I camped on that idea…that the glory of the Lord doesn’t show up where we expect, or even how we expect. And it got me thinking and studying: What is the glory of the Lord exactly?
I found this from Bible scholar John McArthur:
“The glory of the Lord is the expression of God’s person. It is any manifestation of God’s character. In other words…it is the revelation of Himself.”
Which is why the glory of the Lord is at the heart of the Christmas story. Angels heralded, shepherds gawked, kings paid homage and all were in awe: God revealing Himself to humankind in a way never seen before. His glory had shone in creation and in specific moments to specific people in the Old Testament – Moses, the prophets, priests in the temple – but never like this. Never through a human being. In such an unusual place.
The glory of the Lord is revealed to us in Jesus. “If you’ve seen me”, said Jesus, “you’ve seen the Father”. At Christmas, God gave us the whole picture.
I finished the painting by finally – ingeniously, I thought – inserting a tiny pin through the canvas so the balloon would break. And though it hardly qualifies as art, it now hangs in our home. I see it every morning while I drink my coffee. And often I’ll ask God that day to reveal His glory in some unusual way. I’ve started keeping a record. It’s remarkable what you see when you’re looking!
Our prayer for you – and all Canadians – is that we would see the glory of the Lord revealed this year in new and fresh ways; in our marriages, in our families, in our churches and in our own hearts.
Here’s the rest of the story.
“But all of us who are Christians have no veils on our faces, but reflect like mirrors the glory of the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 3:18
There’s no way to read that verse and not get this: when we’ve seen the glory of the Lord, we become reflectors – mirrors – of that glory to the world around us. And the more we see the more we reflect. So this year, let’s look a little harder. Lean forward in our seats. Dig deeper into the Word. Look in unusual places. And when we see the glory of God revealed – and He promises we will – look long and often that we might mirror His brilliance to a dark world.
“The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld His glory.”
I John 1:14