Countdown to Christmas: Glory

By Jerusalem Jackson Greer
St. Peter’s Episcopal Church
Minister to Children, Youth and Families
Conway, Arkansas

First, read Hebrews 1:1-3

The week before Advent a friend of mine posted a picture to Instagram of a sign that had been posted on a church door. The sign read “Please do not use glitter in any part of the church, classrooms, or Fellowship Hall.”  Looking at the picture I had to giggle.

Long ago, in a different time in my life, I made part of my living by making party decorations and selling them online and in a small local boutique. My repertoire included elaborate paper party crowns, noise makers, buntings, and my specialty – banners that spelled out things like Happy Birthday, Merry Christmas, and Happy Easter.

All of my items were made from layers of paper, and all were embellished with copious amounts of glitter. I was even particular about the kind of glitter that I used – preferring a chunky, grittier texture to the fine and silky.

Anyone who has ever worked with glitter knows that once it enters your house (or I suppose your church building,} it never really leaves. Glitter will find its way into every crevice it can – floorboards, kitchen cabinets, tile grout … it will stick to your hair, your shoes, your clothes. And if you use glitter often enough you will begin to leave a trail wherever you go: a truth I learned one November morning years ago.

 It was a lovely November Saturday when my husband Nathan, and our two boys, Wylie and Miles, packed the car with a shipment of candles, banners, and crowns to deliver to a store in a cute little tourist town a few hours away. The order was one that I was particularly proud of and the store we were delivering to had been featured in national magazines.

As far as prestige goes, this order and delivery was a huge deal to me – professionally and personally. To celebrate we had decided to make the delivery in person, and to make a day of it – enjoying beautiful fall foliage, and making strategic pit stops at the antique stores interspersed along the old country highway we would have to travel.

By the time we hit the first store, we were all in dire need of a bathroom break, and so in we ran. Flea markets and antique stores in our area generally have nice, clean, and working – albeit very tiny – bathrooms, and so we had to take our turns, one at a time. When it was Nathan’s turned, I heard a burst of laughter from behind the door, as I turned to follow the boys to search for “cool old stuff.”

Later, when Nathan had rejoined the boys and I couldn’t help but ask him what was so funny, and had to chuckle myself at his response.

“Well,” he said, “I knew that you were the person who was in the restroom before me, because there was glitter all over the seat.”

I thought of this story when I was reading today’s passage, particularly when I read these words: “This is the One who – imprinted with God’s image, shimmering with His glory …”

That day in a long ago November, it was very obvious that I was imprinted and shimmering with the glory of being a professional crafter. I was over the moon that my work was being noticed and requested by someone I greatly admired. I was literally shimmering with the evidence, leaving a trail of it wherever I went.

Reading today’s passage I had to wonder, what would it look like to be imprinted and shimmering with the Glory of God? I think maybe it looks like living a life modeled after Christ – caring for the window, breaking bread with the outcast, sitting with the poor.  Maybe it looks like leaving a trail of unconditional love, joy, peace, patience, kindheartedness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control wherever we go.

Discussion/Reflection Questions:

1. Christ shimmered with God’s glory, and yet he led a simple, nomadic, others-centered life. What is one thing you can do to shimmer in a Christ-like manner this Advent?

2. Why do you think we are attracted to sparkly things? How can your home life shimmer with the Fruits of the Spirit (unconditional love, joy, peace, patience, kindheartedness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) as much as it does Christmas decorations?

3. What do you think it means that Christ is the one that “sustains all that exist?” How does His love and grace sustain you?