They searched place after place, inn after inn, and all with the same reply, “No room!” The city was crowded and bustling with people. Everywhere they looked to find a place, there was no room. I doubt Bethlehem felt like a very welcoming or inviting place to Mary and Joseph. Constant noise and constant people in an unfamiliar, uninviting place. I imagine panic began to rise in Joseph as he knocked on door after door hoping to find someone who would pity this poor young man and his young pregnant wife. His need to protect and provide began to take over probably about the same time that Mary’s need to settle down and nest could no longer be suppressed. Finally they found someone who was willing to make room for them, not in a house or an inn, but in a barn. Was this really God’s chosen place for His Son to be born or was it a default location? How could a stable and a feeding trough be God’s perfect provision for the Christ child? I doubt it mattered at that point. There was room for Mary and Joseph, a place and a space for them to abide.
It sounds so simple and so easy to welcome someone in or to make room for them. However as I’ve considered this, I have realized that making room is often a painful process that requires sacrifice. In order to make room for Mary and Joseph, someone would have had to give up their comfortable room. Or maybe an innkeeper would have to give away a room without being paid. When the angel told Mary that she would become pregnant with a child, it came with much sacrifice and pain. I’ve carried four children, and each time when a woman’s body makes room for another human to grow, it’s a painful process. Not many women describe pregnancy as easy and comfortable; it’s called labor for a reason. Even my friends who have adopted children have gone through painful waiting processes as they tried to make room for a child, often much longer than nine months.
For me to make room for Christ in my life is a painful process that requires sacrifice. I remember last summer working in my flower beds in the front of our house. I had these pretty little bachelor button flowers that just grew and grew. They became these big huge bushes of adorable little flowers that took over the garden. They were crowding out the other things that were growing like my mums and tulips, the flowers that would grow year after year. So these perfectly fine flowers had to go, otherwise the perennials wouldn’t get the sunlight and soil they needed. It just didn’t feel right when I threw those precious little pink and purple flowers on the compost pile, but I knew it had to be done for the long-term plan of the flower bed.
God reminded me that sometimes in order to make room for the things he has for me, other things have to go. At first for me, it was having time to do crafty things, like knit and scrapbook and decorate cakes. As I asked Him about how I was supposed to find time to write and teach, he reminded me that I had time to do everything He called me to do. I began to realize that my precious TV time for my favorite shows became less important as my desire to do his long-term list for me grew. Sometimes the things that go are really good service opportunities at church or for my friends. But when doing those things comes at the cost of a stressed out mom who is mean to her kids, the cost is too great. I have to say no to the good short-term “mission trips” in order to grow the long-term “mission” in my life. This means I have to sacrifice my reputation and my desires so that I can make room in my life for His desires.
At Christmas time, making room looks different for everyone. Sometimes it means going to one less party, making one less trip or buying one less gift in order to make room for Christ in my life. Making room is never easy, but it is always worth it. Anyone who has held a newborn baby in their arms will tell you that.
Will you make room for the Christ this year?
“Come to my heart, Lord Jesus. There is room in my heart for Thee.”