Advent marks the beginning of the traditional church year, a time set aside for anticipating the coming of Christ, both at the first Christmas and again in the future. The passages we read this season reflect this anticipation from the perspective of the Old Testament, and its fulfillment and future anticipation from the New Testament.
Read 2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16
After the king was settled in his palace and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies around him, he said to Nathan the prophet, "Here I am, living in a house of cedar, while the ark of God remains in a tent."
Nathan replied to the king, "Whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it, for the Lord is with you."
But that night the word of the Lord came to Nathan, saying:
"Go and tell my servant David, 'This is what the Lord says: Are you the one to build me a house to dwell in? I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought the Israelites up out of Egypt to this day. I have been moving from place to place with a tent as my dwelling. Wherever I have moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their rulers whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, "Why have you not built me a house of cedar?"'
"Now then, tell my servant David, 'This is what the Lord Almighty says: I took you from the pasture, from tending the flock, and appointed you ruler over my people Israel. I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men on earth. And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore, as they did at the beginning and have done ever since the time I appointed leaders over my people Israel. I will also give you rest from all your enemies.
"'The Lord declares to you that the Lord himself will establish a house for you:
"'Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.'"
David is flooded with his vision to build a temple worthy of the Lord. Though Nathan readily agrees, God puts on the brakes. David won't be the builder, but God promises that David's own house will endure forever through Jesus, David's direct descendant.
Like David, following times of victory or deliverance, we may want to wow God with a sweeping act of love and gratitude. God receives our intentions with love, but he may have a different "wow" in mind for us. Are we willing to lay down our plans for his?