“And she (Mary) gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.” Luke 2:7
One of the hallmarks of modern life is what we see as the lack of time or space or resources. How often do we say, “if only I had…more room, more time…more money…more energy,” and so on?
It’s telling that at Jesus’ birth there was “no room” for the arrival of the Lord of Life. The birth of the King of Kings was relegated to a corner of an animal barn.
It’s sad but we miss little advents of Jesus coming into our lives when we find ourselves too busy, too distracted, and too caught up in all the urgency of the moment to see Him shining through. We think there is no room for Jesus in all of our busyness – but the reality is that we don’t always want to see Him in the room.
For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens (he is God!), who formed the earth and made it (he established it; he did not create it a chaos, he formed it to be inhabited!): I am the Lord, and there is no other. Isaiah 45:18 (NRSV)
Whether we recognize God’s presence or not, He is constantly in and with and through everything. Even so, He invites us to engage Him, to seek Him, to see Him in His handiwork.
It’s easy to miss those moments where Jesus wants to come more fully into our lives. Sometimes we are so busy looking after others or doing the things we need to do for physical survival, such as working and chores, that we need to take a moment to ourselves to just invite the Holy Spirit to wash over us and bring us the rest and refreshing that we need to keep on going.
One of the safety instructions that flight attendants give before a plane takes off is that should the plane cabin depressurize and the oxygen masks drop, adults should put on their masks before seeing that children have theirs on. The logic behind this is that we cannot care for others if we neglect to care for ourselves. This is true in the practice of our faith as well. We need to make room for Jesus and invite Him to refresh and renew us in prayer, study and service before we can be of much use in the community and live purposeful, effective lives.
A very wise Pastor once taught that God is not interested in some abstraction called a “spiritual life,” but that He cares about your life. All of it. The “sacred,” the “secular,” the holy and the mundane. Life is a gift of God. He was willing to make His first fleshly appearance in a dirty animal barn, and die an ignominious and horrific death on a cross to prove His infinite love for us. He became God with us so we could see that He is the Life.
It’s not so much a question of making room for Jesus, but making the effort to see and recognize Him in the room.
Mary prayed in the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55) : My soul magnifies the Lord. She made room for Him, figuratively and literally. We can share her prayer again today- so others may see that Jesus is already in the room.