This week, I was talking with a young woman from our local college. She has finals and end-of-semester projects looming overhead. My friend is stressed. Add to that an inconsiderate roommate situation, which left her sleeping in her dorm hallway one night.
My heart ached for her. What she needed was solace. Peace. Rest. All the things I have been striving to rediscover this holiday season. So I invited her to stay in our guest room whenever she needed. To which she shrugged an incredulous thank-you, and the subject changed.
I walked by the guest room that afternoon and realized why her reaction was so half-hearted and faithless. That room was a PIT!
To keep some sense of order in the rest of the home, that room has become a catch-all for new gifts, wrapping supplies, shipping boxes, old toys for donations, unfinished crafts, laundry, etc.
I am telling you, there was no room. A giant canvas resided on the pillow side of the bed, 5 opened and half-unpacked craft boxes dominated the bottom half. Kids toys (and the containers meant to, ahem, contain them) littered the floor. Cap it all off with the kids bright red pop-up play hut, like a cherry on top of the toy pile.
Convicted, I remembered the story of Jesus birth, accommodated by a barnyard of animals instead of a generous hostess.
And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:7
Through the years of reading this story, I have assumed that, given the same position, I would have invited Mary in. But now, my own inconsistency was heralding the reality from the pile of junk. Even though my words said, “you are welcome,” my home did not.
What a perfect picture my piled-up guest room displays of my heart-condition at Christmas. The spaces meant for Jesus to take up residence are filled up.
- I’ve piled up the approval of others in the room meant for satisfaction in Jesus.
- I’ve stashed good chunk of my holiday accomplishments in the space meant for worship of the King of kings.
- I have compromised that corner table in my heart, where Jesus and I share sweet moments of rest and romance. It’s strewn with lists and Christmas cards that need to be addressed.
How is it that I have successfully eliminated room for Jesus in His very own holiday!? I have re-created the busy Bethlehem. That night, I stayed up late making our guest-room guest-worthy. As I sorted through the mess, I also sorted through my heart. I keep repeating this line from the song, Be Born In Me, by Francesca Battistelli:
“The only thing my heart can offer is a vacancy…”
Lets us allow Jesus’ words to open our hearts, our arms, our homes, to welcome Christ this season, however he chooses to enter our reality.
How do you make space for Jesus in this season? Let me know in the comments.
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PS: I am not talking about having an immaculately tidy home for Jesus. I’ll talk about Embracing the Mess at Christmas NEXT!