Lectionary Reflection: Fourth Sunday of Advent

By The Rev. Canon Mark Stanger

Friday, December 22

2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16; Romans 16:25-27; Luke 1:26-38

A homeless God. That story didn’t start with Mary and Joseph looking for a motel room in Bethlehem but from the ancient Jewish tradition. Today David is lounging in the palace when he has an “ah-hah” moment: “I’ve got decent digs but what about the Ark of the Covenant?” Thus starts the David-Solomon project to build a temple in Jerusalem. But it’s a gift that God neither needs nor wants! God intends to move through the world, take up residence in human hearts and lives.

Jesus comes as flesh and blood, a homeless family ending up in a cave on the edge of town (in Luke’s story), a family of refugees fleeing to and from Egypt (in Matthew’s story). Our cathedral church is not technically a house for God but a House for God’s people. This Christmas mystery and good news is that God now dwells permanently in and among humanity— especially the poor, the homeless, the refugee.

Mary received a choice: can you accept a God in flesh and blood? Will you put your own body and life on the line to make it happen? We have the same choice to accept this wonderful gift…today, tonight, tomorrow and life-long. Merry Christmas!

This reflection was written by the Rev. Canon Mark Stanger, Canon for Formation.

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