A Message from the Pastor
In the year 960 B.C. king Solomon stepped back to look at, and to take in, his life’s work and exclaimed, “Will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain Him; how much less this house that I have built!” and he said this after years of tremendous labor, and at an expense that would be hard to imagine today. But Solomon’s question was a legitimate one, would God indeed dwell in a place conceived in the mind of an architect, drawn up on blueprints, and built with carpenter’s squares and plumb lines…in a building…a Temple, made by human hands?
Well…as it’s recorded in 1 Kings, the answer was yes…as God appeared within the Temple in the form of a cloud so thick, that it precluded the priests and Levites from being able to enter it. So yes, God who is everywhere, would also dwell on the earth in a central location, in the city of Jerusalem, until that is; the Temples destruction a few hundred years later.
But Solomon’s Temple was in reality only a prelude for what would eventually follow, as God had promised through the Old Testament prophets…that He would dwell on the earth as a man, flesh and blood, to once and for all reconcile mankind to Himself. The Temple with its sacrifices was merely a shadow of things to come.
About a 1,000 years after Solomon, Jesus, God in the flesh, stood in the rebuilt Temple and in an exchange with the religious rulers said, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will make it rise.” Of course, the people scoffed at such an assertion, but that’s only because they failed to understand that the Temple, the dwelling place of God was now residing in a man, not a building. And Jesus was of course referring to his death and resurrection after which he assured his disciples that he’d be with us until the very end of time.
All this talk about the Temple has a point…and it’s this…our Christmas celebrations are all about God dwelling with us. Yes, he came as a child in that Bethlehem manger, but He does so even today in our worship services, when you read your bible, in your prayers. God is with us.
As we His people gather together this season, during our mid-week Advent services, for the Sunday school program, and for our Christmas Eve hymn service and Christmas Day worship, let us not forget that God is indeed present with us in His Word and Sacrament and let the words of Solomon ring in your ears, “Will God indeed dwell with man on the earth?” Knowing full well that the answer is yes! As the angel declared that starry night so long ago, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.”
Until next month….