Friday, December 14, 2007

Reflection for Advent (4): Lord, You Have Been Our Dwelling Place

It’s silly now, but I distinctly remember one of my childhood’s most dramatic fears was that of being separated from my parents. I hated to go to bed alone at night, I was fearful of getting lost when we went to large public gatherings and I never wanted to go to college or get married because that would mean separation from all that I knew that was comfortable and familiar. I had a place to live in the world that was cozy and filled with love and I didn’t want it ever to change. But of course growing pangs came and a season eventually dawned when I was ready to leave for college on the opposite side of the country and where marriage no longer held the fear of losing love and comfort but the hope of gaining its fullness.

This advent season I have been aware of my continued longing for a dwelling place, a resting place that somehow my childhood heart found in the haven of my home. The psalmist said, “Lord, you have been our dwelling place through every generation.” My longing heart runs toward that glimmer of rest, slowly and steadily being taught that, in this life, it is in hiding myself in “the cleft of the rock that shadows a dry, thirsty land” that I find a place to dwell.

But it is one thing for me, the created, to seek and find my dwelling place in God, The Creator. It is quite another thing, however, for God, The Creator, to seek after me and find his dwelling place with me, the created. And yet, that is the glorious impossibility of which advent speaks.

God not only woos me to find a dwelling place in Him, but he surrenders His ethereal cloak to put on flesh and bone to live in my world, to experience my sorrow, to understand what it is to be in a body and look toward Heaven and long only for a place to dwell.

Lord, we have been Your dwelling place. Thank you.