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"The heavens declare the glory of God..." (Ps. 19:1).

The first Christmas, when Jesus, the Anointed One, was born, this is exactly what the heavens were doing:
And the angel said unto them, Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all the people: for there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.
(Luke 2:10-11)
Good tidings of great joy! The angel was announcing far more than the birth of a baby...the angel was announcing the most pivotal point in God's wonderful plan to lift man back into the Glory of God.

The Story of the Glory
Through more than 20 years, God has been giving me revelation about the Glory. He has shown me that the Glory of God is God. The Glory of God is God's presence manifested. He has shown me the story of the Glory.

When God recreated the earth - because His original creation fell into chaos at the fall of Satan - He stood up on the sixth day and from center stage, as it were, made a declaration which rocked creation from the regions of the damned to the heights of glory. His words thundered His plan, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion..." (Gen. 1:26).

As the Lord showed this revelation to me, I saw that angels were watching the creation process. One angel - Hebrews chapter two confirms the questioner to be an angel - asked God the question of his heart: What is man?
When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? And the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than (Elohim) the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands….
(Ps. 8:3-6)
The angel seemed amazed that the idea of creating a man was in God's mind. He seemed surprised that God visited the man, Adam, in the garden. And he seemed astonished that at a certain point in creation God arose from His throne, walked over to His man, and placed a crown upon his head. For this revealed man's position in God's plan as a king.

The crown was not made of diamonds nor of gold. God paves streets with gold. The crown was made of heaven's most valuable substance - Glory.

The Glory of God sat upon Adam's head as a crown and clothed his being. This Glory covering enabled Adam to enjoy fellowship with God when God visited him in the Garden of Eden.

Then came that most terrible day, when Adam disobeyed God, yielded to Satan and died spiritually. Acting on the instinctive "self-preserving" impulse of spiritual death, Adam hid from the presence of God that he had welcomed before.

The Story of Redemption
One Sunday morning as I was getting ready for church and contemplating these things, the Lord let me see the Fall with the eyes of my spirit. As I was looking into the mirror, a voice from above and behind me asked, Do you know Romans 3:23? I wheeled around and quoted, "For all have sinned and - " I swooned as I saw it! - "come short of the Glory of God."

The Lord revived me with these words, "But the captain of your salvation will bring many sons to Glory."

In moments, I realized that this is the story of redemption in a nutshell: Man was crowned with the Glory. He fell from the Glory. Jesus Christ will bring many sons back into the full presence of the Glory of God.

Because man fell from Glory, he could no longer endure the Glory of God. It would have destroyed him. The great preacher and missionary to Africa, John G. Lake, said, "The presence of God is as destructive of evil as it is creative of good."

The Plan of Redemption
Because man fell, all of mankind and all of earth itself came under the curse. But God has a plan - a twofold plan that was settled before the foundation of the world (1 Peter 1:18-20; Rev. 13:8).

God's plan of redemption would:
1) Wash man with the blood of the Lamb so he could stand once again in the presence of God, and
2) Cleanse the earth to be filled with the knowledge of the Glory of the Lord.

God placed the sun, the moon and the stars for signs and for seasons. The word translated seasons is the Hebrew word moed. A moed is a fixed time, an appointed time, a set time. God revealed that the heavenly bodies would mark His set times, His appointments with men.

Certainly the star followed by wise men from the East marked an appointed time on God's calendar of redemption. Perhaps they'd been looking for His star since long before - perhaps since the Jewish prophet, Daniel, who stood at the head of the Babylonian Magi, witnessed of the coming of the Messiah.

His Appointed Times
There are many appointed times in the Bible. When the Lord instructed Moses to bring the children of Israel out of Egypt unto Him at the mountain, the burning bush on Mount Sinai signified the re-entry of the Glory of God.

From this mountain on fire with the Glory of the Lord, God spoke concerning His appointments with man.
And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the Lord, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations even these are my feasts.
(Lev. 23:1-2)
The powerful message Moses was to deliver for God actually began like this: "Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, The moeds of Yahweh…(the appointed times of Jehovah)…Ye shall proclaim holy convocations, these my moedi (My appointed times)."

He gave the law of the seventh day. Then he gave three appointed times (three moeds) in the year when the Jews were to appear before Him in the place where the Shekinah Glory rested. The first moed He called the Lord's Pessach - Passover. The second moed was Shavuot - Pentecost. The third was Succoth - Tabernacles.

The celebration of these moeds year after year pointed toward redemption through Jesus Christ. The New Testament declares that these moeds are, "a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ" (Col. 2:17). The body, or substance, or fulfillment of these moeds is the Anointed One and His Anointed.

Jesus Christ is our Passover Lamb. The Holy Spirit, who is the Anointed, was poured out at Pentecost. Many Bible scholars believe that Jesus was born in a manger on the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles. And they believe He was circumcised on the eighth day - that great day of the feast (Lev. 23:36; Luke 2:21; John 7:37).

The Hebrew word for booth is succa, or in the plural, Succoth. Such a tabernacle, or booth, can be rather like the brush arbor of outdoor meetings early in the century. Four poles support a roof of branches. One must be able to see the sky through the roof to remember Israel dwelled in booths when God brought them out of Egypt.

It was a reminder that they were sojourners traveling through this earth. Their real source was the God of the heavens, which declare His glory.

The Real Meaning of Christmas
John 1:14 reveals, "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father)...." An accurate translation of the word dwelt is tented or tabernacled.

The Amplified Bible reads,
And the Word (Christ) became flesh (human, incarnate) and tabernacled (fixed His tent of flesh, lived awhile) among us; and we saw His glory…such glory as an only begotten son receives from his father….
The Glory of God tabernacled among us in the body of Jesus. Through His consummation of the Father's great plan of redemption in our new birth, He becomes, "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Col. 1:27). This is the real meaning of Christmas…Jesus in you. The Hope of Glory in you!

Autumn or Winter
For many reasons, Bible scholars know that Jesus was not born in late December. For one thing, shepherds near Bethlehem would not have had their flocks in the fields in the depth of winter when there was no food.

The government would not have called for an enrollment of the people which required arduous winter travel. It is believed the registration was scheduled for a time when Jews would be traveling in the mild autumn weather to the Feast of Tabernacles.

Since the events of Christ's earthwalk fulfilled the feast, and for many more reasons than we can go into here, many scholars believe that His birth was on the important moed of the first day of the feast. Depending on the year, this would have been in September or October.

So then, why not celebrate in September if He was born in September?

Well, if He was born in September, then He was begotten by the Holy Spirit in December. So, December is a fitting time to celebrate the One Who walked up and down throughout eternity humbling Himself to enter the womb of a woman to redeem humanity (E.W. Bullinger has some interesting notes on this subject in "The Companion Bible").

Glad Tidings of Great Joy
From Scripture and from Jewish history, we can put together that Joseph and Mary came to Bethlehem when multitudes were coming for the Feast of Tabernacles. Since she was ready to deliver, her betrothed husband looked for a place for her in an inn. There were no vacancies - no room in the small inns of the day. Mary, it is believed, went to one of the many caves in the area.

On one visit to Israel, I went into one of these caves still in use as shelter for people as well as animals. I saw places which had been hollowed out centuries before to make troughs, or mangers, for animals to feed. These caves, in what is called "the shepherd's field," are near Bethlehem - which means the house of bread - not too far from Jerusalem.

These are the fields where Ruth and Boaz met. These are the fields where David kept his sheep and sang psalms of worship to the Lord. The night of the birth of David's greater son, shepherds were out in those same fields when the heavens declared the Glory of God!

When I was in Hebrew language school, I celebrated with the Jews during this most joyous of all feasts. We took all our meals under a very large succa. The Jews invited everyone to celebrate with them. They rejoiced and had a good time, even if they didn't feel like having a good time - for the Bible commands them to rejoice seven days.

And then came the eighth day, that great day of the feast, when they took the Torah scrolls out into the streets and danced with them. It is the most joyous of all days in the feast.

Year after year since they came out of Egypt, the Jews have rehearsed by rejoicing the far greater joy, Jesus coming to earth, which would come in fulfillment of this great appointed time of the Lord.

On the momentous night of Jesus' birth, the heavens declared the Glory of God. The angel said, "I announce to you Great Joy…!" When we celebrate Christmas, we are not just celebrating the birth of a baby. We are celebrating the re-entry of God's Glory through His Incarnated Son.

His First Coming was full of Glory. But it shall be surpassed by the far greater Glory of His Second Coming! Are you ready? If not, you can be. Give Him the gift of your life this Christmas. The Holy Spirit through Paul gave us special instruction to follow as we wait for the appearing of the Lord: "Rejoice evermore" (1 Thes. 5:16).

Rejoice For The Story Of The Glory!
Rejoice that, as a born-again believer, a seed of the Glory of God was deposited within you at your new birth. As you look in God's Word and yield to His Spirit, the Holy Spirit will change you from Glory to Glory - from one degree of God's manifested presence in your life to the next.

And then, on a soon-coming moed already fixed in the mind of God, heaven will declare the Glory of God even in your body.

It's the story of the Glory! It's the meaning of Christmas! Remember it as you prepare and celebrate this holiday season.

` Prayer Mountain In The Ozarks
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Billye Brim
Web site: Billye Brim Ministries
Billye Brim is blessed to work with others across the Body of Christ. She strongly believes in walking out what Scripture teaches that we are one Body, with one Head, one Spirit, one Lord. First Corinthians 10:32 is foundational in Billye Brim's ministry. The "good works that He has ordained that she should walk in" involve activity among the Jews, the Nations, and the Church-all to the Glory of God.

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