Day 18: Thursday

Thursday: Respond (Act)


As you meditate on the song of the angels, the Gloria today (Luke 2:9-14), consider what kind of transformation Jesus is highlighting for you.What does this mean for me? For the life of the World? For your role in the world?  Look back on your journal notes and on the word or phrase that stood out to you in this song. Consider the relationship between that word or phrase and transformation.


In today’s reflection, following the progression of the four “movements” in the Lectio Divina method of spiritual reading, or reading with God (Read, Reflect, Respond and Rest), we will consider not only the movement within our own hearts, and what the angels song means for us, but we will explore what it means for the life of the world and our role in the world. Lectio is a way of listening to the texts of Scripture as if we were in conversation with Christ and He was suggesting the topics of conversation. Yesterday, our response took the form of prayer for guidance. As you study today, consider what it is that Christ may be leading you to do and how you will Respond to his leading.

Wilmer Dewing, Picturing Angels, Gloria, Thomas Wilmer, Angels Surround, Dewing Paintings, 1884
For the past few days we have been noting that the angels’ Gloria serves as an exposition of themes that Luke continues to develop in his narrative. We have explored the themes of

Glory, of Peace and of Wonder and awe. Thinking about these in concert, they lead us to Praise. The three hymns of praise-the Benedictus, the Magnificat, the Nunc Dimittis-spring from the human heart and are found on human lips. But the short Gloria in Luke’s gospel is different. It is the song of the angels who surround the throne of God. At the end of the angel’s announcement of the birth of Jesus to the shepherds in Bethlehem, “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 whom his favor rests’ ” (Lk 2:13-14). This song of praise, which the angels sang in response to the event of the holy night, is a hymn of joy at God’s glory – ‘we praise you for your glory’. In the Gloria, we voice a joy that cannot be contained at the goodness of God now visible and tangible in the birth of Christ and in his saving work as our Redeemer.


Perhaps it is not surprising that there are no questions in this scene, only praise. And that is what Christmas is for— no matter how dark, or complex, or seemingly hopeless the world may look or in fact be, this day stands as a beacon in history’s long progression. The challenge that comes to us in this scene is to suspend our worries, fears, regrets, anxieties and join in the praise.


  • What is your hymn of joy to God? How do the concepts of Glory, Peace and Wonder transform your sense of hope in what can sometimes seem a hopeless world? How does this help you to face the world without fear?
  • For a moment, at Christmas, the heavens opened and proclaimed this hymn that forever changed the trajectory of humanity. How does this proclamation transform your own life? Imagine yourself as a shepherd that night, hearing the great chorus of angels singing. How would this alter your life ever after? How would you respond?
  • Look back on your notes from the Gloria’s themes thus far, paying particular attention to what God is showing you about your own life. Taking these themes together, look for common threads in your observations. How does God’s direction change how you will live and what you will choose to do for the life of the world? Note this in your journal.
Prayer: Sing your hymn of joy to God, thanking him for his gift in Christ and praising him for the transformation this brings to your own life and to the life of the world. Ask him to make you an instrument of his peace in the world.