This week, I was talking with a young woman from our local college. She has finals and end-of-semester projects looming overhead. On top of her finals-week stress, an inconsiderate roommate situation left her sleeping in the hallway of her dorm 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 a half-hearted “thanks,” and changed the subject.
I walked by the guest room that afternoon and realized why her reaction was so indifferent. That room was a mess!
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 to fold, etc.
I am telling you, there was no room. Craft boxes spilled out their contents across the bedsheets. Kids toys littered the floor. Topping it all off was the kids’ bright red pop-up tent, like a cherry on top of the toy pile.
It reminded me of Jesus’ birth accommodations: a barnyard of animals instead of a clean room with 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 I would have invited Mary in to my home. 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 are already filled up.
- I’ve piled up the approval of others in the area meant for God-given contentment.
- 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 used to share sweet moments of rest. It’s strewn with lists and Christmas cards that need to be addressed.
Again….. No Room.
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.