Solomon at the Manger

Prayed this morning for Scripture to speak to my heart, opened the Book at random and found it.

On Christmas morning….

2Chronicles 6:12 tells of Solomon’s dedication of the temple he had built for God. How does this relate to Christmas? I think of Jesus, how he compared his body to the temple…which would be torn down and built again in three days. Thought of the curtain in front of the Holy of Holies, which one day some thirty years from Christmas morning would be torn in two to let all men commune directly with God.

I thought of Solomon, dressed in all his glory, the most wise and famous king…could see him in his royal splendor, purple-robed and flashing with gold and the glitter of jewels. The temple, white and almost luminous, set new and towering before him. The crafted work of the best artisans, the bronze bath shouldered atop gleaming bulls, the pillars with woven nets and bobbing pomegranates nodding high in the sweeping vault above. The gold and splendor of the best, the richest the world had ever devised.

Now take him, this wise and splendid king. Take him in his finery and beauty, and in place of the cold white stone put the slick dark walls of a lowly stable. See him kneel not on the smooth bronze platform but in the gritty hay, scattered over rough-earth floors. See in place of the stately bronze bulls the cattle sleeping softly, put in place of burning incense the smell of offal, in place of trumpets hear the bleat of an ewe, the sigh of a baby. See Solomon’s crown fade in the light of a new star, his hands clasped in wonder over what this rough manger holds. And then Solomon’s prayer of dedication does, indeed, take its place in the Christmas story, it speaks anew. A king’s dedication to the King whose flesh, like temple’s stone, held the very being of God.

2 Chronicles 6:12

Then Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in front of the whole assembly of Israel and spread out his hands. Now he had made a bronze platform, five cubits long, five cubits wide and three cubits high, and had placed it in the center of the outer court. He stood on the platform and then knelt down before the whole assembly of Israel and spread out his hands toward heaven. He said:
“O LORD, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven or on earth—you who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way. You have kept your promise to your servant David my father; with your mouth you have promised and with your hand you have fulfilled it—as it is today.
“O LORD, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven or on earth—you who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way. You have kept your promise to your servant David my father; with your mouth you have promised and with your hand you have fulfilled it—as it is today.

“Now LORD, God of Israel, keep for your servant David my father the promises you made to him when you said, ‘You shall never fail to have a man to sit before me on the throne of Israel, if only your sons are careful in all they do to walk before me according to my law, as you have done.’ And now, O LORD, God of Israel, let your word that you promised your servant David come true.

“But will God really dwell on earth with men? The heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built! Yet give attention to your servant’s prayer and his plea for mercy, O LORD my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence. May your eyes be open toward this temple day and night, this place of which you said you would put your Name there. May you hear the prayer your servant prays toward this place. Hear the supplications of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven, your dwelling place; and when you hear, forgive.

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