category: Advent

2023 Advent Devotion: Day 20

Friday, December 22

2 Samuel 6:12-19; Hebrews 1:5-14

“David, dressed in a linen priestly vest, danced with all his strength before the Lord. This is how David and the entire house of Israel brought up the Lord’s chest with shouts and trumpet blasts” (2 Samuel 6:14-15 CEB).

For most people, the seasons of Advent and Christmas are joyous occasions. There is a palpable sense of excitement in the air as we decorate our homes, select the perfect gifts, bake special goodies, plan family visits, and more. In our homes and in our churches we are surrounded by symbols of the season that conjure memories that often only peek out during this season. Symbols are important to us, and that is precisely what we read about in 2 Samuel 6 as David accompanies the ark of the LORD into Jerusalem. The ark is a physical symbol or representation of God’s presence, revealed to Moses in the wilderness. In our Old Testament passage for today, the arrival of this important symbol is celebrated.

We find David and the whole house of Israel dancing, shouting, and sounding trumpets to acknowledge total devotion to God. The excitement was unmistakable. However, David’s public display of devotion was not popular with everyone. Verse 16 reveals that Michal, one of his wives, was ashamed of the way in which he was behaving.

How do you relate to this story? How do you respond to God’s presence in your life? While we do not confine our understanding of God’s presence to a box or chest as the Israelites did, we must confront the reality that our acknowledgment of God’s presence isn’t always on display. Do you celebrate God’s presence with joy like David, or do you stand back and mock those who celebrate God like Michal?

These verses only show a portion of the story, but it is the portion that gives honor to the joyous occurrence of God’s presence. Are you rejoicing in God’s presence with as much attention and devotion as you give to the expectations of the Christmas season? The sense of excitement that our seasonal symbols generate should mirror our joyous celebration of the birth of Christ. God’s presence was now in human form! As we move closer to Christmas Day, consider what measures you need to take to come before the presence of God with all your strength. Your joy should be evident to all. Give thanks and celebrate with all that you are and all that you have. As each verse of the Advent carol O Come, O Come, Emmanuel commands, “Rejoice, rejoice! Emmanuel has come to Thee, O Israel.”

Kelly Settlemyre
School of Divinity Student

Previous Post

2023 Advent Devotion: Day 19

Next Post

2023 Advent Devotion: Day 21

Related Posts

  • Post

    D-Day Plus 80…A Moment in History the World Cannot Forget

    By now you have probably heard that the Gardner-Webb University Concert Choir is traveling to France to perform as part of the 80th Anniversary of D-Day.  Like you, I am so proud that GWU students and faculty have the solemn opportunity to be present at a place where history was made, where the tide of […]

  • Post

    Family Weekend:  Making New Memories at GWU

    This past weekend Gardner-Webb University hosted its twice-annual Family Weekend. What a joy it was to see so many parents, grandparents and siblings reconnect with their GWU students for fun, food, and fellowship. Granted, our students had only just returned to campus from the Christmas break a few short weeks earlier; nevertheless, the reunions were […]

  • Post

    2023 Advent Devotion: Day 23

    Monday, December 25 Luke 1:46b-55; 1 Samuel 1:1-18; Hebrews 9:1-14 Welcome Christmas! Today we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This is a day of joy and a day of majesty. It is our day to magnify His great and holy name. Glory to God! As you conclude the 2023 Advent devotional […]