An Advent Journey: Reflections for Weary Travelers — Day Twenty-Three

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2 Samuel 6:12-19, NRSV

It was told King David, “The Lord has blessed the household of Obed-edom and all that belongs to him, because of the ark of God.” So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom to the city of David with rejoicing; and when those who bore the ark of the Lord had gone six paces, he sacrificed an ox and a fatling. David danced before the Lord with all his might; David was girded with a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet.

As the ark of the Lord came into the city of David, Michal daughter of Saul looked out of the window, and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord; and she despised him in her heart.

They brought in the ark of the Lord, and set it in its place, inside the tent that David had pitched for it; and David offered burnt offerings and offerings of well-being before the Lord. When David had finished offering the burnt offerings and the offerings of well-being, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord of hosts, and distributed food among all the people, the whole multitude of Israel, both men and women, to each a cake of bread, a portion of meat, and a cake of raisins. Then all the people went back to their homes.

So . . . why is this passage among our readings for Advent? I’m not entirely sure! But I’ll tell you what percolates in my mind as I read it: dancing for joy. What does that look like? What does that feel like?

Michal, Saul’s daughter and one of David’s wives, didn’t like the look of it at all. And there is something very important about her inclusion in this story, I think. She didn’t approve of her husband’s semi-nakedness, nor of his exuberance. Approval  . . . such a strange idea. If God approves — and clearly God does — then what right does Michal have to do otherwise? 

We can fall into her trap so easily! Someone gets a little too agitated, too noisy, too revelatory in some way — and we pull into ourselves, noses in the air, and decide that kind of behavior is somehow beneath us.

Well . . . maybe not.

How differently this story might have unfolded if Michal had gone out and joined her husband in praising God for the safe arrival of the Ark of the Covenant! How might the troubled family dynamics that were yet to come have been ameliorated if Michal had entered into her marriage relationship with her whole self? We will never know  . . . but, I wonder. I wonder.

Lord, keep me from becoming Michal in any way! Help me to let go of my need to offer either approval or disapproval for anyone else’s behavior/decisions/actions. Keep my eyes and my heart focused on you, always looking for reasons to dance for joy, to lift my hands in praise. Keep me limber, open, and in tune with joy.

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Comments

  1. It’s so easy to be like Michal when we see someone/something we disapprove of. May we remember in those moments of weakness that God created those persons, too. And let us always dance for joy!
    Blessings, Diana!

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