I have turned the page of my wall calendar, thereby officially acknowledging Advent’s arrival with the month of December. I have switched out my stained-glass pumpkin hanging in the window for a stained-glass candy cane. Not much of a start, but it’s something visual to remind me that Advent has begun. So much to do! A lot of clutter needs to be cleared if I am to make room enough for Christmas decorations. It feels like an overwhelming task at present.
I’m glad God is not overwhelmed by the prospect of all the cleaning that needs to be done in my heart. My Heavenly Father is undaunted by the needs of my heart, which only He can meet anyway. Without God’s constant care, my heart grows hard and needs His softening touch to remove accumulated stones. On its own, my heart grows cold and indifferent. Only God can restore warmth and caring to my heart. But my heart (like the Inn in the Christmas story) is too often already full of other things, thus denying God access, preventing Him from entering in to do His lifesaving work in my heart.
Ironically, that’s a part of the Christmas story I remember well, having been taught as a child – “there was no room in the Inn for Mary and Joseph” – meaning, there was no room for Jesus anywhere in Bethlehem. That’s why He ended up being born in a stable. No one would make room for Mary and Joseph even though they could see she was clearly ready to give birth. Joseph knocked on a lot of doors that cold winter night, but no one would make room for this young couple and the baby they were about to bring into the world. They were all too busy going about their lives. Sound familiar?
Today, Jesus is still knocking on doors, asking for entrance into our lives – the very lives that we received from Him in the first place. Jesus’s words in Revelation and in John make this clear when He says,
“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with Me.” (Revelation 3:20)
“Jesus replied, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will obey My teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.’ ” (John 14:23)
Jesus is knocking at my door today. Am I too busy with Advent activities to answer? (how ironic) Have I prepared for His arrival? Am I ready to receive Him? Have I made enough room for Him in my home and in my heart? Or have I filled my days and my life with other pursuits, leaving no room and no time for Jesus? Isn’t that what Advent is all about? – making room for this notable Person, Jesus, to come in and make His home with me, just as He promised He would do – and making time to spend with Him.
Advent is about making space – space for God in my life. Today as I clean my home to create space for Christmas decorations, I will also clear my calendar to create space in which to spend time with this Notable Person whose birth I am preparing to celebrate.
On how many Christmases since that first Christmas has there been no room for the guest of honor? I do not want that to be true of my home, my heart or of my life this Christmas. Today, this second day of Advent, is a good day for me to,
“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10)
Today I will accept the invitation which Jesus extended to His apostles in Mark 6:31,
“Jesus said to them, ‘Come away with Me. Let us go alone to a quiet place and rest for awhile.’ “
Jesus extends this same invitation to me and to you, today, dear readers. Now is the time for us to make room in our busy schedules and accept His invitation. This is the invitation of Advent – to invite the guest of honor in and to spend time with Him. What great joy there is in His presence!
sincerely, Grace Day