As the time approaches when God chose to reveal himself in creation, he inspires in us an awareness that he needs 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, 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 build him a house, but that he builds David a house – a line of descendants that will last forever. “Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before me: your throne shall stand firm forever.” God desires to dwell, not in a physical building, but within the hearts of his people and this great effort 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 …”and 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 make his dwelling among his people. Mary with complete trust says “yes” to this humanly impossible request. Through her perfect “yes” God becomes physically incarnate in her womb. She herself becomes a true “dwelling place” 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 to be made known to all nations to bring about the obedience of faith, to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ be glory forever and ever.”

God wills to dwell in us in a most profound way! He reveals this to us so that we may “believe and obey” – as Mary did – and become a true dwelling place for 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 is impossible for God!”

What is important here is whether we are saying yes to following his will or to our own will. Mary’s question to the angel was not out of selfishness or doubt, but to make sure that this amazing message was really from 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 heart to dwell in.

How can I become a more complete dwelling place for the Lord? Do I sincerely believe that God wants to do great things in me and through me? Am I willing to seek his will above my own will?

Excerpt from The Anawim Way, Volume 14, no. 1. More information about The Anawim Way may be found here.