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King David wanted to make a house for God. In 2 Samuel 7, we hear him, “Here I am living in a house of cedar, while the ark of God dwells in a tent!” It was an overflow of his love and gratitude for calling, blessing, and establishing the Israelites and his kingdom. Naturally, he thought what he was enjoying would be a good thing to give to show his love, so he thought of building a dwelling place for God.

Frequently, we want to demonstrate love by doing or giving something, as we see David doing here. But we also need to know what it is the other wants or needs. David missed the mark: God did not want a house to dwell in. He wanted to inhabit his people! God speaks to David through the prophet Nathan to communicate this.

The LORD also reveals to you
that he will establish a house for you.
And when your time comes and you rest with your ancestors,
I will raise up your heir after you, sprung from your loins,
and I will make his kingdom firm.
I will be a father to him,
and he shall be a son to me.
Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before me;
your throne shall stand firm forever.” 2 Sam. 7:14a, 16

This is Jesus. Jesus who embodied love perfectly. Though raised by a carpenter, we have no record of Jesus making tools or tables or homes as an expression of his love, though these are appropriate expressions in other relationships. Instead, he turns to making hearts come alive, lightened from the burden of sin or lifted to dignity and wholeness. He sees what needs and wants lie below the surface and addresses them. People felt seen and known. Some liked this and others didn’t. But it was the Father’s love that guided Jesus’s actions.

Jesus is so clear on who, how, and what to address in a person. He tied this ability to his complete dependence on the Father’s love. The Father’s love made Jesus behave in audacious, abrasive, honest, active ways. These weren’t necessarily polite, friendly, kind ways that we typically associate with niceness. It was the lens of love that gave Jesus his perception, which, in turn, governed his actions. Unsullied by insecurity, fear, or hatred, Jesus saw precisely what each person desired and addressed that desire with his questions, actions, and teaching.

As we allow his love to pierce us as we each need, we begin to see ourselves and others more clearly. We begin to be able to do as he did, addressing others’ desires with the wisdom in God’s perfect love. Our actions become more fine-tuned and flexible. We don’t assume that what will make me happy will show love to you, like David did towards God, but we see better what it is you need and whether I am one from whom God wishes to stretch his love out in a particular way.

God’s perfect love encompasses all action—all are available to express it. So, whether it is building a house or a temple, crafting a toy or table, or touching a leper, love will lead us the more we surrender to being seen and known by Love.

Let Love in this Christmas. Allow yourself to welcome Love, to feel Love, to express Love. The Kingdom of God’s Love will never end, hallelujah!