Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Sorry God - No Room this Christmas

Luke 2  ... because there was no room for them in the inn
In the winter of 1994 Matt was changing duty stations with the US Navy. We had been living in upstate New York near the Nuclear Prototype Facility, but Matt's training was done and he was being stationed at the Groton / New London Submarine Base in Connecticut for his first sea duty tour. In the early 90's several bases had been or were closing, so we were informed that there would be a long wait before we'd qualify for military housing. It's also fair to note that in the early 90's we were the young twenty-something version of the grown ups we try to be today; no credit card, no cell phone, no home computer and very rarely did we have
a detailed plan when it came to travel. We picked a convenient weekend, gassed up the car and headed down to the coast one Friday night after both of us were done with work. We pulled into the military town late. It was cold, I was very pregnant and probably a little bit cranky, and we were both tired so we began to look for a hotel. That's when we made the discovery...there was literally not a room available in the entire town. We finally found a dive of a motel with a desk clerk that took pity on us - there was one room reserved that had not been claimed...and at midnight if those people did not show up he'd give us the room. We went back to the car and I sobbed and we waited. At 12:05 we walked into the hotel room and said a heartfelt prayer of thanks. I remember thinking that night as I drifted off to sleep in that lumpy hotel bed "I wonder if Mary and Joseph felt as overwhelmed as desperate as we did tonight ~ back when they were young travelers, far from home pregnant and unable to find rest for the evening?"

A lot has changed since that winter 19 years ago. But as I woke up early on this Christmas Eve morning, my heart was stuck on this question: How often do I and the people I do life with choose to live like there is still "no room" for Jesus?  When I balance at my check book, is my heart hardened or stubborn to the financial principals that God calls me to honor?  When I evaluate my calendar do I find it filled with priorities that have 'kingdom value'? When I examine my marriage, do a see a relationship that is centered around God's holy standards for love? When I look at my children, do I know in my heart that I have equipped them with the knowledge of God's love, wisdom, grace and truth? When I think of the future, does my heart really say "not my will, but your will God?" When I look at my body, can I honestly say that I am behaving as a wise steward regarding my physical health and well being? When reflecting on my close friendships, do I see the good Christian fellowship, discipleship, encouragement and accountability that the New Testament describes? And what about all of those sandpaper people in my life; you know the ones ~ they are covered with rough edges and they sometimes rub me raw. Is there room in my life for God to use those people to shape and soften me the way that He desires?

Every day I have to decide if this is the day when there IS ROOM.
I can only choose for myself.
Every day you have a decision to make too...not just on Christmas Eve.

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