And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
To not have room is a terrifying feeling. Maybe there wasn't room next to your friends at the table and you had to go sit with people you didn't know. Maybe there wasn't room at the back of your Pure Barre class and the whole class had to watch you do every single move incorrectly, front and center. Maybe there wasn't room to sign up for paper plates and napkins at the potluck and you had to bring a homemade dessert.
My family experienced there being no room when we were traveling for my great-grandfather's funeral. We were driving in the night, the driver needed a break, and the only shelter available for six people was the sole remaining room at an ancient Red Roof Inn. It was not as bad as it sounds; it was worse. You can smell the carpet just by reading this. My mom actually had to remind me of this story, because that's a memory that decided it needed to be suppressed.
Years past Mary and Joseph's own fiasco accommodations, it feels like there is still no room in our lives for the coming King.
We make room for endless commitments. We fit in the time to endlessly scroll on social media. We clear our shelves for things we don’t need in a world that has so many needs. But we don’t always make room for Christ in the season that is supposed to be all about Him.
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
He is knocking this Advent—and not just when you have a fun Christmas party going on inside.
That emptiness you feel when a loved one lets you down? An invitation to let Him in. That tug on your heart to not let gossip roll off your tongue? A call to choose what is better. That feeling you have when it feels like there is nobody to turn to? A beckoning from Him to cry out and leave it at His feet.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “That is the greatest seriousness and the greatest blessedness of the Advent message. Christ stands at the door. He lives in the form of the person in our midst. Will you keep the door locked or open it to him?”
He stands at the door and knocks. God, the creator of the universe, desires to spend time with you. He wants to hear your cries and your needs and your dreams. He longs for you to be His. The gift of Advent is nothing you have to earn, but everything for you to receive.
The birth of Jesus does not mean you are required to come up with the most amazing holiday traditions, bake 24 cookies from scratch, and tinsel the heck out of your home. Making room does not mean making time or space for all that our culture pressures you to do. It just means receiving the gift.
This Advent, may we all find the space to put down our phones, set aside our idols, lay down the pressures, and take a moment to be still in the presence of Jesus. Let's make room in the inn—in our own little (hopefully not Red Roof) inns.
We have no greater need than the gift of Christ. And this Advent, all we have to do is make room to receive it.