In Luke’s account of the birth of Jesus, Joseph and Mary must take lodging in a stable and that is where the Christ-Child is born “because,” Luke writes, “there was no room for them at the inn.” And the thought of that has led an author to speak of what he calls “the inn of life each of us keeps.” I like that.
Imagine, for a moment, your life to be like an inn and you are the innkeeper. Is it crowded, this inn that is your life? Is it crowded with busyness and a million things to do — the busyness and a million things to do in running a family, working a job,life itself? Or is it worries or anxieties or fears that so crowd it? Or do loneliness or emptiness, pain or grief, occupy all its rooms?
Is there any room for guests? Even unexpected guests — room for the love of another that often appears like a guest at the door, or the healing or the hope or the gladness that wants to take up lodging within you? Or is there room only for yourself?
We are each of us keepers of the inn that is our life and the question is: How do we keep the inn that is our life? If we are not careful, there shall be no room for the One who wants to come to birth in our lives and live within us; the very One who is our peace, our hope, our joy; the One who comes to us in unexpected and unlikely ways with healing and strength — in the friend, a stranger, a child, the whispering that is more than the wind, some word that is the word you most running anything for that matter, justneed to hear.
Another author has told of something the painter Georgia O’Keefe once wrote. She wrote, “No one really sees a flower, not really. To look at a flower takes time, like having a friend takes time.” And then the author herself wrote, “Every day I hear people say, ‘I don’t have time; I’m out of time.’ I say it myself, but the bold truth is that I have all the time there is. I do not have any more or less time than Mother Teresa had or my six-month-old nephew. I just make different decisions about how I use it.”
The truth is that we do have time, all the time there is — we each of us have this day. The questions is: How will we use it? To keep the inn that is our life well is to make time, make room, make space for Christ, to allow Christ to enter in, to welcome and receive him day after day. And it is to make time for others, for love, for wonder and miracle, for serving, for joy. When we keep the inn that is our life well, we look for and welcome the Christ-Child who wants to be born in our lives and promises to be with us in all things and see us through all things unto life. It is to make room for what matters most.
And may that be our prayer as Christmas fast approaches — that we make room for the One born at Bethlehem and be filled with the hope and joy only he can give.
God be with you,