Dancing and leaping in the Holy Presence of the Lord

Something was very different one Christmas. My family gathered around the piano to sing our traditional Christmas songs of joy and praise in celebration of our Christ’s birth, but this year familiar faces were gone. We were smaller in number than we had been in last year. A few of our missing family members chose to walk the paths of the world, and were separated by their choices from participating in our spiritual celebration. One went even further down the path of destruction, and embraced the wicked ways of a life in darkness. So our numbers were down, and our voices leaner and strained as we struggled to carry on with our praises to God, in the midst of loss and pain.

Suddenly, in the middle of one of the songs rejoicing at Christ’s birth, I felt the surge of His Holy Spirit move through our family congregation. Our music stopped instantaneously, as each of us literally absorbed His comfort and love, as He moved within us to heal the pains of loss.

It was one of those moments when time stands still. It was silent. There was no music, there was no talking, there was no praying nor was there any of the familiar outbursts of joy that we commonly displayed in His Presence. We were too pained, too scarred, too needing of His Touch, that each of us became enveloped in His Presence, without thought of our own or each other’s time or place.

What a wonderful Touch it was. What a wonderful Christmas gift we received that day. Just as Christian’s burdens dropped from his shoulders in Pilgrims progress, our burdens of pain were removed and replaced with an even greater love than we had experienced before. With His healing presence, He brought a new and deeper understanding of Christmas Praise, and I wanted to share it with you.

The Ark of the LORD God, the vessel that the actual presence of the LORD God inhabited had been removed from the Tabernacle in Jerusalem by forces against Israel. Eventually, King David was determined to bring the Ark back to the place it belonged inside Jerusalem.

When the opportunity and time was right, He took his priests and prepared them to deliver the most Holy Ark. As they moved the Ark, the oxen that pulled the cart shook, and the Ark began to fall. Uzzah, one of the cart drivers, and a very holy and faithful man, reached out to catch the Ark before it fell. The LORD God became very angry at Uzzah for touching the Holy Ark, and He smote him immediately, causing his death.

David was very upset and angry that the LORD God would punish Uzzah so severely when he was just trying to help. David could not figure out how to prevent the same thing from happening again, so he stopped the movement of the Ark, and left it in a house along the way.

After leaving it at the house of Obededom, he saw that great blessings of the LORD God were being bestowed upon Obededom. These blessings were so much greater than the risk of moving the Ark to Jerusalem, that David chose to try the task once again.

This time, as the Ark was moved, King David went before it, dancing and leaping for the LORD God. He put on the simplest of garments, and danced with a joy, and sang with a praise that could be heard by all. He danced and shouted and trumpeted with all his might, announcing to all the the Holy Presence of the LORD GOD, and His Holy Ark were entering the city of Jerusalem. There was no doubt left in any mind, that the holiest presence was arriving in the place He Willed.

And so the King of Israel danced. He was seen to be dancing in the most unroyal way by a very royal daughter of a former King. She chastised David, reminded him of his position, and reprimanded him for his unkingly dance through the streets of Jerusalem.

His reply left no doubt to his position:

David would dance and leap and shout and sing and joyfully announce the presence of the LORD God, in the midst of human error and human frailties. There would be no doubt to the LORD God in Heaven that David knew the holiness of His Presence. There would be no doubt to the people of the world that were watching the movement of God, that His Holiness was moving among them.

Our Christmas gathering, and our Christmas songs took on a deeper meaning. We were announcing the arrival of our precious and holy Jesus Christ. We began dancing and leaping and praising God, shouting and blowing our trumpets of His Arrival! It mattered not who was with us, nor how others interpreted our celebration. We were announcing our joy of Christ’s birth, and our anticipation of His return, as the Holiness of the LORD God moved among our gathering.

My feet are still dancing! Praise be to God!