Do You Have Room?
I don’t know what it is about Advent that causes me to pause and reflect on whether I am living my life for Christ to the best of my abilities. But every year, I am overcome with the sense that I could have done better. I should have done more. And why, oh why, am I deficient in so many things?
Over the years I have wondered why I love this time of year and yet at the same time I dread it. Is it because I feel like I closed my heart to those around me? Or do I lack patience to deal with people? Or is it because in all my busy-ness, I have not made room for Christ to enter my heart fully and totally in preparation for His coming? Do I not take this seriously enough? Or am I too afraid to face my own brokenness that I try to keep God a bit out of reach to hide from his love?
It was a long time ago—over 2,000 years, when that very young and tired couple travelled together. Pregnant, alone, with no friend to meet them they went, putting all their trust in God. Each step was a step of faith, for they did not know what they were facing, but their faith sustained them, nonetheless.
There was no room for them anywhere. No place to welcome them, give them comfort, make them feel safe and protected. There was no room by a warm fire to give them rest. There was no room for them to have some food, to sit or to lie down. A very pregnant young woman and her spouse were not able to find a welcoming home to give them rest.
Often, we don’t have a little bit of room in our hearts for those closest to us, like our husbands and our children that make so many demands of us. A few years ago, a dear friend shared with me that her mother always placed an empty place setting at their Christmas table to remind them of the stranger who has no one, the lonely one who is without family or friend, the homeless person on the street, the one who is in despair, or the one who is sick and cannot be with anyone. I have often thought about that story. About how it reminds us of how fortunate we are to have family and friends, to have a warm home, to have food on the table, to be present to others.
But do I really make room? Have I opened my heart fully to the Lord? Have I let Him in so He can reside in my heart, take it completely because I want Him there? Do I have room to let Him in?
In my brokenness and my attempt to distract myself from thinking about my relationship with God, I have been guilty of neglecting Him. I have not let God fully into my heart because I don’t love myself enough to invite Him in and to let Him rest there. Lord, I ask, I beg, that you remove from me all that blocks the light of your love. I want to rest with you.
This Christmas I will make room. I will seek Him out and place Him in my heart. I will look to fill that empty space with meaning, with joy, and with grace. I will make room for the Savior who came to be born as a humble child, who teaches daily what it means to be a Christian, who loves me unconditionally, and who died to save me.
Rema Celio an award-winning professional editor. She has worked in educational publishing for over 20 years, for both Pearson Education Canada, and recently at the Insurance Institute of Canada. Rema is active in her parish of St. Benedict where she sings in the choir and leads the Catholic Moms Group. She is happily married and the mother of two teen-aged boys. Rema loves to read, cook and bake with her husband, and knit. With her family, she enjoys playing cards, watching movies, and going for walks. Rema recently graduated with her certificate in Theological Studies from St. Augustine's Seminary/UofT.