Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations.
God’s dwelling place
The Christmas story looms large in our faith and culture. Angels singing in the heavens. Shepherds guarding their fields by night. Stars in the night sky. Packed inns and feeding troughs as a resting place for a divinely conceived baby. Despite its importance, only two of our four Gospels recount this story in any detail. Mark leaves the story out altogether, and John relegates it to a concise nine word summary. “And the Word became flesh and lived among us.”
With all the talk about magi from the east and census taking and donkey rides from Nazareth to Bethlehem the forest is sometimes lost. While I love those stories, as they are found in Matthew and Luke, it is John in his brief nativity in chapter 1 verse 14 who gets right to the point. That God chose to take on human form is the central claim of this and all the Gospels.
It is both true and good to say that we find our dwelling place in God, as we here the Psalmist say, but it is bold and radical to proclaim that God finds a dwelling place with us. God decided to be born, be incarnate, dwell, live, literally in the Greek, set up a tent, right here, with us.
We humans make strange roommates. We are messy to the point of destruction. We are cliquish to the point of conflict and war. We are selfish to the detriment of others. But to God, who out of love all things came into being, becoming flesh and living with us is central to who God is, during Christmas, and all other times of the year as well.
Look around; this is God’s dwelling place.
Rev. Daniel Joyner Miller