And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
I wonder this morning if there is enough room in my life–my Christmas–for Him. My precarious brain rattles down to quick keeping prayer vigil for my husband’s dearly beloved Oma as she makes her journey Home to Him. I hold brand new nephew, two weeks early, precious and perfect with a mop of thick, black hair and long, slender fingers in a miraculous count of 10, and hug my brother and sister: Praise the Lord. My heart floods with joy and relief and dread and prayers for a quick passing and a quick birthing, painless and holy. Both prayers are answered, as we let slip one beloved up the ladder to her glory and quietly, sweetly cradle newborn hope in a birthing suite.
And neither were planned for this weekend.
And with this mind working in plan-mode, keep-it-together-mode, keep-eveything-rolling-mode, don’t-go-manic but please-don’t-get-depressed-mode, I clamor to do, to fill, to fix. I have full-forced and bombarded my way through so many closed, holy doors in this panic mode. I have burned straight through every chance I’ve had at peace and inflicted pain where I so desperately wanted to bless.
And I see my selfishness, my plan, my way emerging as I panic over plans that may need to be rescheduled so that we can attend a funeral.
I stop, and I think about Mary and Joseph tiptoeing through Bethlehem late in the night, as the Mother of Jesus crumples over the back of a donkey with every growing contraction. I wonder if she had planned for the birth that night, or if it had taken her by surprise. I wonder about how many of those Bethlehemites would say that they loved the LORD, Yahweh, I AM THAT I AM? But, like my cousin Kelsie pointed out at Bible Study as she held her brand new baby boy just days after Thanksgiving, how many of them had any room for Him when He actually came for them?
There were no rooms left open for Jesus in Bethlehem. None.
Is there a room left in me, Lord?
Do You have any room left, when He’s coming for You? Is your Christmas so neat and tidy and locked-down that you’ve forgotten to leave a room for Him? Even a manger?
Jack texts me, “Do we ask them to do it a different day?”
I text, “No. We will pray. He cares for every detail of our lives.” And what I am thinking as I kneel on my bedroom floor in prayer and fatigue and tie beautiful red bows on packages filled with little boys’ and girls’ dreams come true,
Birth a new dream in me, Lord. Birth peace. I will make a way for you. Even if it hurts. Even it seems crazy to leave a room empty in the bustle and the hustle and the WANT of this life.
And we will leave room for Him this Christmas in our hearts. We will leave room for the birthing, for the pain, for the miracle. We will not clamor for control and perfection. We will clear a space. And we will wait.
Wait with me, Friend. Because we get to live this joyful secret: Jesus is coming for us. For You, and for me. He will never stop coming for You. Never.
God bless you in the clearing and the deep breaths–
If you need extra inspiration, Ann Voskamp’s The Greatest Gift devotional will keep you rooted in the Word and filled with peace this Advent Season. Her Unwrapping the Greatest Gift is a beautiful gift to share with your family. She is also offering little video devotionals every Sunday during in Advent. The links to the first two weeks’ devotions are: