Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Can you make room?

Driving from Chicago to Mississippi for Christmas at home seemed like a wonderful idea. It was the triplets' second Christmas and we were eager for them to experience Christmas surrounded by family.

We loaded the van with luggage, gifts, car seats and babies and headed south as soon as Dad was out of classes. We had no idea how these angels would travel and so had no hotel reserved along the route. We would drive as far as we possibly could and then stop for the night.

Except when they got fussy and we pulled off the interstate at the first exit, we discovered not one of the hotels at the exit had a vacancy. Not one.

We got back on the highway and continued heading south. I had soothed the exhausted one year olds and was certain that the proximity to a local college was the only thing filling those particular hotels. We would find an opening for sure at the next exit.

Except we didn't.

Not at the next exit either.

When we finally tumbled out of the van with a room secured for the night we had learned a valuable lesson that we operate by still today. We never -- not ever ever -- leave home without reservations. (And we have not had Christmas in Mississippi since that trip.)

Christmas at Grammie's -- when we finally made it to Mississippi!

Today, my quiet coffee-drinking time by the fire centered on the next verses in Luke:

"So Joseph also went up from the town of Galilee to Judea to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them." (Luke 2: 4-7 NIV)

Can you even imagine? Thanks to the Christmas travels of 1998, I actually can imagine. I can feel the angst as Joseph went from inn to inn inquiring about a room. My shoulders feel tense imagining the stress he must have felt wanting to provide comfort and rest for his beloved.

And as a woman, I can imagine the relief of finally being able to get off the donkey -- or out of the van -- and relax on the bed of hay that Joseph prepared for her. I can hear Mary assuring Joseph that all was well, that she was perfectly comfortable sleeping with the animals surrounding her. No really, the smells were comforting.

What I can not imagine is what happened next! The time came for the baby to be born! She gave birth to Jesus. Wrapped that sweet baby boy in some cloths and made a bed for him in a feeding trough. And I bet she was assuring Joseph of how perfect the make-shift hotel room was the entire time.

Today, can I encourage you to take a deep breath. First, let's make certain we are making room for Jesus this season. Can you clear out the busy? Put down the rush-to-get-the-list-completed of December and make time to reflect on what we are truly celebrating?

And then my dear ones, let's take a lesson from the mother of our Savior: there is no evidence that she let her expectations rob her of the joy of this moment. I doubt she envisioned giving birth to the King of Kings surrounded by cows, sheep and horses. I doubt she imagined that the crib for her firstborn son would be used to feed those animals mere moments before.

Just as I can imagine the stress of finding no room at the inn, I can imagine the whining, complaining and just plain awful attitude I might have had if I had had to sleep on hay, much less give birth there.

Put down your lists. Lay down your expectations. May the baby born in Bethlehem fill you with his perfect peace today as you make room for Him.

Christmas at Grandmar's in Mississippi. I think these faces are saying, please please don't put us back in that van!

Carol - The Blessings Counter