No Place

2 Samuel 7:18–29

Then King David went in and sat before the Lord, and said, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far? And yet this was a small thing in your eyes, O Lord God; you have spoken also of your servant’s house for a great while to come. May this be instruction for the people, O Lord God! And what more can David say to you? For you know your servant, O Lord God! Because of your promise, and according to your own heart, you have wrought all this greatness, so that your servant may know it. Therefore you are great, O Lord God; for there is no one like you, and there is no God besides you, according to all that we have heard with our ears. Who is like your people, like Israel? Is there another nation on earth whose God went to redeem it as a people, and to make a name for himself, doing great and awesome things for them, by driving out before his people nations and their gods? And you established your people Israel for yourself to be your people forever; and you, O Lord, became their God. And now, O Lord God, as for the word that you have spoken concerning your servant and concerning his house, con rm it forever; do as you have promised. us your name will be magnified forever in the saying, ‘The Lord of hosts is God over Israel’; and the house of your servant David will be established before you. For you, O Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, have made this revelation to your servant, saying, ‘I will build you a house’; therefore your servant has found courage to pray this prayer to you. And now, O Lord God, you are God, and your words are true, and you have promised this good thing to your servant; now therefore may it please you to bless the house of your servant, so that it may continue forever before you; for you, O Lord God, have spoken, and with your blessing shall the house of your servant be blessed forever.”

No Place

Whether we’re decking our halls, visiting family, or singing “There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays,” our imaginations gravitate home during the holiday season. I love the way this chapter in 2 Samuel begins: “Now when the king was settled in his house...” I see David with his feet up on the hearth and a steaming mug of hot chocolate (or something stiffer), Bing Crosby crooning carols in the background. Now that everything else is in order—desserts are baked, gifts purchased and wrapped—now that we’re all relaxed and cozy, we can actually enjoy the “reason for the season.” Settled in our houses, we begin to make room for God.

But when David proposes from his comfortable home to build God a house of his own, God has different ideas: “I will build you a house.” God won’t let us set a place for him. God arrives out of doors. is is the hospitality of God, and it is more expansive then our expectations. Christmas gives us a longing for home—for togetherness, belonging, festivity, and rest. And rightly so. e sending of Christ (Christ-mass) brings peace on earth, good will to all. But we would do well to ask with David, “who am I, and what is my house?” And what does it mean for God himself to “be home for Christmas.” We, like David, want to prepare a place for Jesus to arrive. What we get instead is a baby born out back of the small town motel, a child destined to have “no place to rest his head.”

by Rev. Nick Chambers