St. Luke in his Gospel vividly describes the moment when Christ was born, “And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: ‘Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on who his favor rests.’”
The heavenly hosts sing joy for the drama and mystery of God’s love given to the world. In the backdrop of the great sublime drama of the Incarnation, is the struggle between good and evil; light over darkness; and, life over the hopelessness of death.
In the midst of the incomprehensible outpouring of divine grace is a world waiting and in that backdrop we find a young Virgin Mother; a dank and smelly stable; lowly shepherds caring for their animals; and of course, a diabolical and murderous king.
The contrast of opposites cannot be any more striking. The most humble of a birth was far from all expectations, a king born in such poverty. In that poverty the birth of Jesus ushers in a brand new relationship where God has never been more approachable and lovable.
“Glory to God,” the angel prays because he recognizes the enormous love God has for his people by sending them His only begotten Son.
“Glory to God,” the angel proclaims because he realizes humanity will not have to experience physical and spiritual hardship alone. The Father has willed his Son will experience the same human pain and misery.
“Glory to God,” the angel sings because all of the heavenly host now become aware goodness and love will triumph over the destruction and darkness of death. Remarkably all made possible by the simple birth of a child in a lean-to made for beasts.
“And peace to those on whom his favor rests”, is the final utterance of the angel who departs only after he introduces Peace itself, a little child who is the hope of all. Each year we celebrate this momentous day with joy because we have come to believe in the proclamation of the angel the moment the world would no longer be held hostage to death.