“Go, tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD: Should you build me a house to dwell in?’ “It was I who took you from the pasture and from the care of the flock to be commander of my people Israel. I have been with you wherever you went, and I have destroyed all your enemies before you. And I will make you famous like the great ones of the earth. I will fix a place for my people Israel.”
So here we are. In about six hours we enter into the Vigil of the Nativity. Six hours after that, we join in the celebration of the Lord’s coming, His Nativity, in candlelight and soft tears – our hearts alive with the spectacle of extreme love made real.
When we face extreme love, when we experience the power of God, we are left to stand in awe. Wow, look what God did for me, look how He guided my steps. The next thing you know, we want to do good, to repay God. David felt that way. He was humbled by all that God had done for him and wanted to reward God. God was not amused.
God says, look at all I did, I have complete and ultimate power to accomplish all things. I took a shepherd boy from nowhere and made him king. I protect my people, and you’re going to build Me a house?
God proceeded to tell David what would happen. I am going to build the house. I am going to establish the kingdom. From your people, your lineage, will come the King, the Messiah. I will raise up your Heir after you, sprung from your loins, and I will make His kingdom firm. I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me.
The rest of today’s scripture flows from this promise. Paul, writing as an Apostle of the promise delivered, tells his people, Give praise and glory to Him who can strengthen you. Rely on God to deliver – because He already did. He will make you strong in the face of everything. Don’t worry about what you can do for Him – but rather just praise Him, glorify Him for what He has done.
That reaction, that praise comes from our attitudes, our hearts, minds, souls, and bodies. We are to be ready to give this witness of praise. Our praise is to be a living portrayal of the glory of the Nativity, the freedom bought by the Cross, the promise of the Resurrection, and the Ascension. It is living in advent expectation for His return in glory.
The end of our Advent journey is the beginning of a new and more powerful journey. It is time to rethink our reaction to God. God chose what would be done and He fulfilled all he promised to do. We can give Him nothing except to live differently, to listen like Mary and to react as she did – “Behold, I will do what the Lord asks, I will do His will. Let all things in my life be according to God’s word.”