As the time approaches, the time God has chosen to reveal himself in creation, he inspires in us an awareness that he seeks a dwelling place. In the first reading, we see that King David has a sense of this. In a limited way, he recognizes that something is missing. Sitting in the beauty and comfort of his cedar palace he feels that he should have provided a “place” for God to dwell in – he is thinking of building a temple – so he speaks about this with Nathan the prophet. In answer to this desire of David’s heart, God reveals that he has a much greater plan, one established at the beginning of creation, not that David should build him a house, but that he will build David a “house” – that is, a line of descendants – which will last forever. “Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before me; your throne shall stand firm forever.” God desires to dwell, not merely in a physical building, but within the hearts of his people, and this great project will be accomplished through the power of God rather than through the efforts of man.

In the Gospel, the angel Gabriel comes to Mary announcing to her that the promise made centuries ago to King David will be fulfilled in her Son: “the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Through Mary, God will indeed have a dwelling place among his people. Mary with complete trust says “yes” to this humanly impossible request. Through her perfect “yes” God becomes physically present – incarnate – in her womb. She herself becomes a true “house” for the Lord. What was foretold to David is fulfilled in Christ through Mary.

God wills to dwell in us! In the second reading St. Paul speaks of this great mystery, a “mystery kept secret for long ages but now manifested through the prophetic writings and, according to the command of the eternal God, made known to all nations to bring about the obedience of faith.” This is the mystery revealed on Christmas Day by “the only wise God, through Jesus Christ.” To him be glory forever and ever!

God wills to dwell in us in a most profound way! He reveals this to us so that we too may believe and obey, in “obedience of faith” – as Mary did – and become a true dwelling place for God. What is important here is whether we are saying “yes” to following God’s will or merely living according to our own will. Mary’s question to the angel was not out of selfishness or doubt, but to make sure that his amazing announcement was really from God. When we say “yes” to God we create a “space” where God can act. Our “yes” does not accomplish, by itself, any miracle, but it gives God room to do great things in us, for us, and through us. “Nothing will be impossible for God!”

Today is Christmas Eve. This evening we will welcome the Light of the World who will appear in the darkness of our world. Let us welcome him with joy of heart and with joyful song, humbly offering him, like Mary, our hearts to be his dwelling place.

In what ways am I willing to seek God’s will above my own? How have I experienced God’s work in me when I say “yes” to God and create a “space” where he can act? How can I humbly offer my heart to be a dwelling place for God, just as Mary did?

Excerpt from The Anawim Way, Volume 20, no. 1. More information about The Anawim Way may be found here.