Sunset on the sea
Photo by Kathy Bozzuti-Jones

A Dwelling Place for God

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?

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