A Dwelling Place for God

by: 
Bob Scott, Dr. Kathy Bozzuti-Jones, Kathryn Carroll, Summerlee Staten

A vivid sunset over New York Harbor

Photo by Kathy Bozzuti-Jones

As Christmas approaches, the readings for the fourth Sunday of Advent focus our attention on what it means to make a dwelling place for God. In the first reading (2 Samuel), King David, free from fighting, plans to build a palace for himself and a splendid temple for God. But God, who has been behind David’s success all along, upends the plan asking, “Should you build me a house to dwell in?” In other words, it is not we who make a dwelling for God, but God who builds the house. In a play on the word house, God establishes the Davidic ruling line. 

In the Gospel reading from Luke, Gabriel’s message portends God’s desire to take up residence in human flesh. We will see in the Gospel for Christmas Day, the prologue of John’s Gospel, that “the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” It seems that God’s preference is to “pitch his tent” (Gk. verb, eskenosen), to dwell with ordinary humans in their ordinary dwellings — in their human flesh. Divinity walks around in our midst, in our very selves. When it comes to revealing the mystery of God, God favors the ordinary, the insignificant, and the least (by human standards.) Mary, too, was an ordinary young woman making wedding plans in an insignificant Galilean town, when her life was upended and she was asked to make her house ready for the Lord.

God takes on the form of a human child in Jesus and, like Mary, we are invited to receive the Word. In fact, we receive the Word again and again when we receive the babe in the manger at Christmas. And whenever we receive the marginalized, the worn out, the least and the lost around us, we taste something of the mystery of God’s indwelling love.

Christmas blessings on you and on those you love! 

Kathy Bozzuti-Jones, PhD

 


In the words of Henri Nouwen, may you receive the voice of God in your heart this Christmas, calling to you, from all eternity: “You are my beloved. My favorite one. My joy.” Yes, let us prepare our houses for the Lord, fling open the doors and, say heartily: “Come in. Come in.”

Questions for Reflection:

  • When have you felt favored by God?
  • What is your experience of God dwelling within you in difficult times?
  • Who in your life reveals the mystery of God in human form?

 


Christmas Pageant

All ages are invited to tell the Christmas story together in an interactive online pageant this Sunday at 9:15am. Bring a star — one you make or one you find — and come ready to participate as we share the good news of God-with-us. Register here.

Download Nativity Zoom backgrounds to set the scene during the pageant: starry nightangel wings, and Bethlehem.

This pageant will be recorded; if you don’t want to be recorded, you’re welcome to join with your camera turned off. 

 


Spiritual Resources

 


Children’s Time

We will not meet this Sunday but hope to see you at the Christmas Pageant!

Children’s Time will be on hiatus December 27 and January 3. We will resume on January 10. Be sure to register for the program on Zoom, if you haven’t already.

 


Discovery

We will continue the conversation Diana Butler Bass began about gratitude in advent (a recording of the December 6 gathering is available here). Be sure to register here, if you haven’t already.

Discovery will be on hiatus December 27 and January 3. We will resume on January 10.