It is like it happened yesterday, even though 4 long years have passed since that fateful December day. If I allow myself, I can see the faces, smell the air, and feel the panic that filled my heart. The nurse’s words echo in my ears, “Sit down, we have no room for you.” Pain fills my heart in a way that is indescribable. I wondered if I would get through the nightmare that I experienced while losing William. I don’t allow myself to go to this place very often. It’s a dark place, a lonely place.
It wouldn’t be until later that I would think of the similarities between the Holy Family’s and our experience. Over and over again, we were told at the hospital that there was no room for us; over and over again we pleaded for help, not just for me but more so for our baby boy. I can picture Joseph and Mary pleading as well for their baby boy only to be turned away as there was no room for them either. I can feel their worry and their distress. I felt it too, as we were turned away time and time again. Mary, heavy with child, had to feel alone. Even though she was carrying God’s child, I’m sure she wondered where He was and why they were facing so many difficulties.
While I’ve written on this before, time has since passed and the hurt isn’t so overwhelming all the time. I can look at our experiences and try to take away something more from them. Instead of focusing solely on the hurt and the despair, I can look at the healing and the hope. I can look at how the experience of losing William helped prepare a bigger place within my heart for Christ to reside.
We experience many setbacks, disappointments, and tremendous hurts in our life. We often define ourselves by these experiences. We also often define our faith by these moments. We feel utter despair, total abandonment, and complete loneliness when we do so. We wonder where God can possibly be during these times and we become angry at Him for leaving us alone. Many times we don’t realize that we have closed up our hearts a put up a sign that says, “No Room”.
It is important, especially on this day, that we take down the “No Room” sign, and instead prepare a room for the Christ-child within our hearts. By allowing room for Christ, we open ourselves up to love that is all-powerful, all-giving, and all-consuming. But how do we do this? How do we prepare a room for a King within such humble, simple, and sinful hearts?
When Christ came He was not born into luxury. Instead, He was born in a stable and placed in a lowly manger. Our hearts, like the manger, need not be perfect. God will perfect them and transform them into a place suitable to lay a tiny infant King. There is not much we must do to allow Christ a place within our hearts; we only need to say yes. God will do the rest.
The Holy Family is traveling, looking for a place to stay as their child, our Savior, is soon to be born. They’ve encountered many who have turned them away, who have said that there is no room for any of them. They are weary from traveling. What will they find when they come to your door? Will there be a sign that says, “No Room”, or will they find a warm home eager to open itself to the strangers who so desperately need a place to stay? Will you allow the Son of God to be born in the humble confines of your heart?
Preparing a room for Christ is simple; allowing Him to enter into your heart requires you to answer God the same way Mary did – with a quiet yes. This Christmas make room for Him and experience the joy and love He can and will bring to your life.