Glory To God In the Highest


The cost of putting the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) into space in 1990 was enormous. The HST was out of focus at first. Many complained that the project was an expensive failure. With a Shuttle mission in 1993, the focus on the HST was readjusted by astronauts working in space. The photographs that came back after the telescope was put into proper focus were spectacular. Complaints about the cost of the HST are not heard now.

I am fascinated by the HST. The powers of focus of the telescopic cameras of the HST are astounding. The cameras can peer deep into the darkness of space and reveal the faintest light that is thousands and thousand of light years away.

It was estimated that the number of stars in the night was 100 sextillion. That number has been tripled now that we have help from the Hubble. That is, the number of stars in the night is now estimated at 300,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. Interestingly, that is far more stars in the sky than the total number of people who have lived on the earth. Is there anyone who really knows what 300 sextillion is? The magnificence of the starry night is to be experience by looking up. In his painting “Starry Night,” I think that Vincent van Gogh captured both the darkness and vastness of space and the beauty and magnificence of the night stars.

The photographs from the Hubble are more than science – THEY ARE ART! There are photographs of an elliptical universe that are breathtakingly beautiful. There are photographs of a storm on Jupiter that has been raging for 400 years and is larger than the earth that look more like art than weather.

The HST has reached into space and revealed wonders to behold. The Hubble’s power to reveal is nothing compared to the way in which God has revealed Himself in the babe that was born to Mary in Bethlehem. According to Colossians 2:9, all the fullness of the Godhead was revealed bodily in the Lord Jesus Christ. Of a truth and for a truth, the Creator of the vast universe and the Giver of life became man and was seen in the face of Jesus. Now that is power — uncovering incredible beauty for us to behold!

In spite of the beauty of the photographs of the Hubble Space Telescope, those photographs are not inviting. They tell us of places of desolation, places filled with cold and ice or fire and storm, places that have acrid atmospheres and do not sustain life, places that are forbidding and dangerous.

But we live on the blue planet. Here the oceans teem with life, the fields are covered with grasses and the forests are filled with fruit-bearing trees that feed a multitude of beasts, and there are winged creatures of every color and hue flying and soaring in the open skies.

Christmas speaks of this and much more. Earth and its dust are both the abode and substance of what we are. We are the special creation of God that is made in His image. And wherever we are there is creative impulse. Wherever we are there are musicians who sing songs and painters who capture beauty on canvas and philosophers who think the thoughts that have never been thought before and dreamers who dream the world of tomorrow’s day and astronomers who long to travel to the deep reaches of the galaxy and engineers who make dreams and longing come true.

We are the planet of the visited people. God has come near to us in forms and syllables that we are able to comprehend. In the Incarnation, God has come to us in a face that we can receive without fear. In the Babe of Christmas, there is a solution given for our sin. In the story of Christmas, the wisdom of the ages is made flesh. In the song of angels, there is celebration of life. In the story of Wise Men traveling far, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world is presented to us for our adoration.

Everything is turned around. It is NOT we who are focusing and searching in the starry night; rather, it is God who has focused on us and found us and called us unto Himself in Jesus. Indeed, let us join the choir of angels as they declare “Glory to God in the highest!”

Merry Christmas,

Charles W. Wilson

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