No Room at the Inn

Betty blue bordered (2)My thoughts this Christmas center on one phrase: “For there was no room for them at the inn.”

No room for a young woman in labor. No space for a vulnerable infant. What desperation Joseph and Mary must have felt, unless they unquestioningly trusted in God’s providence. And the innkeeper? No doubt he was harried by the crush of busyness brought on with the census, yet what a heavenly opportunity he missed.

We are, sadly, more likely to be the harried inn keeper, than the trusting parents.

As much as I value a life of simplicity, I don’t live that value consistently. Attributing sentimental meaning to things, I accumulate mementos of wonderful experiences, photos of the stages of our married life and parenthood, or artistic works of the beauty I’ve experienced and want to cling to. Having experienced sparse times, I want to spare loved ones any lack and so I store what daughters might need, like strollers and favorite old toys and baby clothes. We are blessed to own a house with a full basement and we’ve put it to full storage use. However, sometimes clutter and busyness and mistaken priorities threaten to crowd out people.

So my husband and I are committed to making space in our lives. Space and time. For actual physical space, we’ve emptied a good portion of our basement by sorting, recycling, donating, selling, or relocating. After years of talking about it, we have begun building a guest suite, or studio apartment—space for family members in those transition times we all seem to experience now and then.

We also are both trying to reprioritize our time by working on self-discipline. There is a time and a place for deepening relationships, house work, creativity, service, and relaxation but when I’m truly honest with myself, I know when I’m using those activities as excuses to avoid the work that God has given me to do. Like the harried inn keeper, I am busy, but missing heavenly opportunities.

Guide us all, Lord, to move closer to your perfect balance.

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