King David was all settled. His palace was in good order, and he enjoyed victory over all his enemies. And yet he felt that all was not right. The Ark of the Covenant was housed in a tent, while he lived in an ornate palace. This discrepancy didn’t sit right with David, so he decided to do something about it: he would build God a house. The prophet Nathan confirmed David’s proposal, saying: “Go and do whatever you have in mind, for the Lord is with you” (2 Samuel 7:3).
But then God spoke to Nathan and gave David a different message. He told him that it was David’s son who would build him a house, not David. And while the temple Solomon built was beautiful, it was only a physical temple that was eventually destroyed.
Nearly a thousand years later, Jesus was born. What David had lamented—that God dwelt in a lowly tent—Jesus came to set right. Since the fall of our first parents, humanity had given God a lesser role in their lives. They failed to honour him for his holiness and his perfection. And because their hearts had been darkened by sin, they couldn’t see God as he truly is. Because our ailment was spiritual, we needed a spiritual remedy.
That remedy came through Jesus Christ, the divine Word who became flesh and pitched his tent among us. He came to take away our sin and to open our eyes. He came to rebuild the temple of God—not a temple of stone but a temple of human hearts. This new temple is far greater and far more splendid than anything Solomon could ever have built. It is the body of Christ himself, the dwelling place of God here on this earth.
Tomorrow is Christmas, the day when God took a crucial step towards rebuilding the temple. When you gaze upon the baby Jesus in the crib, make sure you also see the master builder who is still at work in this world. He is the one we are called to adore.