Over the weekend I had the occasion to sing the Christmas carole “Joy to the World.” (Imagine that!) I’ve sung this song by heart for years and never really thought about the words I was singing. But this time, the words of that song really popped for me. Thanks to Roy Williams, I know why.
When you sing a song from memory you can bypass the left-side of your brain and not even process the meaning of the words you sing. (I remember how horrified I was the first time I read the words of the popular jazz standard “Mack the Knife” and understood for the first time what I’d been singing all those years!)
Because I was singing the carole at church the words were projected on a screen and I couldn’t help but follow along. I came across the line, “Let every heart prepare Him room” and it hit me; what a great phrase and those words put together in that way present an awesome word picture.
I see a cluttered, “lived in” living room with books, magazines, boxes, old junk mail and other odds and ends stacked on every available surface including shelves, chairs, couches, tables and even on the floor. The only places without a stack of stuff on them are the favorite chair and a skinny pathway marked out on the floor from one end of the room to the other.
I guess the room is okay as far as it goes. Clutter kind of stresses me out but some people can live like this with no problem. At least no problem as long as they’re alone. But once a visitor comes into the room, the stuff has to be cleared away if the visitor is going to sit and stay awhile.
In the same way our lives tend to become a cluttered mess over the years. Unresolved issues become our “stuff” and clutters up our lives to the point where we no longer have room for anything or anyone else. We have piles of old unresolved relationships, old debts, old faulty thought patterns, old hurtful habits. And much like the little inn in Bethlehem we have no room when Jesus comes knocking on our door.
Every Christmas (and Easter and maybe even Thanksgiving or a birth or funeral) Jesus comes to visit. All the other days we have no thought of Him at all but through the busyness and clutter on this day He comes and knocks on our door. He makes a pass through our cluttered lives but never stops, never lingers because there is no room.
The thing you must know about Jesus is that He’ll never invite Himself to sit and stay. He’ll never clear out a space for Himself. He’ll always wait to be asked and wait for a spot to be cleared for Him.
As this Christmas Day approaches–no matter how cluttered and messy your life may be–I want to encourage you to make room for Him. Even better, give Him permission to help you put things in order so you can invite others in to share your life.
We were made to live out this life together. But first we have to make room.