A husband and his wife approach an inn as the sun and moon trade places in the sky. The wife holds onto the donkey and her round belly, breathing in and out slowly as the labor pains come. The husband rushes to the inn and knocks on the door. “Please,” he says once the innkeeper opens the door, “We need a room, my wife is in labor.” “Sorry, we’re all full,” the innkeeper replies and shuts the door. The husband returns back to his wife, forlorn. Where are they to go?
If you are familiar with the Christmas story, you know how there was no room in the inn for Joseph and Mary when it was time for Mary to give birth. Instead of a cozy room, Mary had Jesus in a stable. Although this was likely not Mary and Joseph’s plan, it was God’s plan.
Jesus’s humble beginning was intentionally orchestrated by God to reveal what kind of king Jesus would be. Even though this was God’s plan, we can still ponder that event at the inn. When the innkeeper told Joseph there was “no room,” he had no idea that the Savior of the world was inside the man’s wife. He had no idea that if there was space, the promised Messiah would be born near him.
Preparing Christ Room
Circumstances are different for us today. While there was no physical room for Jesus that Christmas, we have the opportunity to give Christ spiritual room this Christmas. The popular Christmas hymn “Joy to the Word” includes the lyric: “Let every heart prepare Him room.” It’s possible for us to sing this hymn and not consider the significance of these words.
Amongst the hustle and bustle the holiday season often brings, we can forget to focus on our relationship with Christ. We can put off spending time with Jesus in His Word because we are preoccupied with our gift lists, activities, or other holiday-related events. When we fill up our time during the holidays with so many things that take away from time with Christ, we essentially fail to prepare Him room. We leave no space for the truth of God’s Word to penetrate and reside within our hearts.
Think about what you do, or would do, if you have a guest staying at your home. You likely wouldn’t let them stay in a room that was full of clutter, with hardly any space to lay down on the bed. Instead, you would get the room ready. You would clean the room, remove any clutter, and wash the sheets. You would make your guest feel welcome in the ways you prepare their room. But do you prepare your heart in the same way during the Christmas season? Do you consider what you need to “declutter” within your heart to give Christ the attention and honor He deserves?
What Is Advent?
Advent is a time to ready our hearts for Christmas day. It is a time to intentionally create and establish space to remember, ponder, and delight over Christ’s first coming. Essentially, Advent is an opportunity to prepare Christ room. But whether or not we take up this opportunity to do so is up to us. If we don’t prepare Christ room during Advent, we can approach Christmas with the wrong perspective, emphasizing the fun of the holiday while missing what the holiday is all about. Or we can approach Christmas overwhelmed and hurried because we didn’t take the time to still our hearts before the Lord.
Practical Ways to Prepare Christ Room
So this Advent season, make it a priority to prepare Christ room. This could look like carving out time each morning to sit with Jesus and His Word. It could look like journaling each evening, evaluating what is taking up room inside your heart instead of Christ and confessing these things to the Lord. But one of the greatest ways we can prepare Christ room is keeping the purpose of Christmas central.
When we keep the purpose of Christmas central, we approach Christmas with a worshipful mindset. We view Christmas as ultimately not a time to receive gifts but a time to extend worship and praise to our King born in Bethlehem. And as we keep the purpose of Christmas central, we take up the Advent Season with joy and intentionally use that time to ready our hearts.
Don’t let the craze that can sometimes accompany Christmas keep you from focusing on Jesus and spending time with Him. This Advent, prepare Christ room by clearing out what doesn’t need to take up space within your heart and drawing close to Him.
Additional resources to learn more about celebrating Advent