As a result of some strange and disturbing events the Ark of the Covenant - the box that represented Godʼs Presence with the Israelites - had been stored at the home of a man called Obed-edom for a time. And in that time, Obed-edom had experienced great blessing. As a result, King David becomes determined to take the Ark to Jerusalem - perhaps so that the entire nation could enjoy the blessing of Godʼs presence again. As the Ark was brought into the city the joy that David felt overflowed him and he could not stop himself from dancing. He stripped down in order to remove all the trappings of his royal authority and show that, before God, his kingship was unimportant - he was just a human being like all others. Possibility this is why his wife Michal, who was a daughter of the previous king, Saul, and who had been raised as part of a royal family, was so offended. Perhaps, unlike David, she was unwilling to give up her privilege and authority even for God. Perhaps, as is often the case when people are faced with a humility they donʼt understand or canʼt embrace, all that was left to her was to mock the devotion of her husband.
The Advent season is rather like this for us. We celebrate the presence of God who, like the Ark, comes into our world and our lives. For those who have known the power of Godʼs presence, the only appropriate response is humble celebration and thanksgiving. Some may view our joy as foolish, naive or even delusional. Some may be offended by our willingness to strip ourselves of our pride in devotion to God. But, whatever others may say about us, when we have known the presence of God, we can do no other.
In what ways have you experienced the joy of Godʼs presence in your life? How has this joy moved you to humble celebration? Have you felt the pressure of others to downplay your devotion to God? In what ways does this Advent season challenge you to be more devoted and passionate in your worship?
God, your presence is a mysterious, wonderful, joy-inspiring thing. I am constantly awed by the unexpected joys, the breath-taking beauty and the humbling power of your presence in my life. Thank you for all of these blessings, and for this Advent season that reminds me of them. Forgive me when I allow others to embarrass me into hiding my love for you, O God. And help
me to be gracious to those who may choose to mock because they have not yet understood the incredible joy of your coming into their lives. Amen.