The year I got married, my husband’s mom told me she’d read that the Christmas season brings thirty-nine additional items to a woman’s already overflowing to-do list. At the time I thought the number seemed a wee bit overstated but with age and experience, I’ve learned that the exact number doesn’t matter. Whatever it is, it’s enough.
More than enough.
We address cards and clean houses. We go to programs and the post office. We buy and we bake. We decorate. We deliver.
In no time, the pages of our calendars are crammed with concerts and gatherings. There’s no room for anything else. No room for one more thing. No room for Jesus.
He knows about a no room Christmas.
On the night of his arrival, Bethlehem was filled with people returning to be counted for Caesar’s census. The Inn was full, so crowded that there was no room for Mary and Joseph and their coming baby. That first Christmas was a busy one.
Still, there were those who made time.
The shepherds were settled in for a long for a night of watching their flocks, situated around their fire, doing whatever shepherds did to stay warm and pass the time. They were ready for another night of work, right up until the heavenly host arrived and changed everything.
The wise men saw the star and followed. They had to have known that to follow meant a long and arduous journey. Still, they went.
Our calendars present a convincing case that we have no room. For us there will be no heavenly host, no star to prompt us to act. It’s up to us to wrestle the list and the calendar and make room.
It’s a hard fight.
I face it every year: succumb to the busyness of the season, to all the things, and plow through my days accompanied by a flashing neon No Vacancy sign or join the shepherds and the wise men and make room.
For the shepherds it meant a trip into town. For the wise men, it was a cross-country trek. We don’t have to go anywhere.
The babe has already arrived.
Jesus came to live his sinless life and die an unjust death. He rose to give us life and then ascended into Heaven where he’ll intercede for us until he returns.
All that’s left is for us to make room, to pay attention, to remember—wherever we are–and worship.
May there be room in your life this Advent. See you in the new year.