Countdown to Christmas: Day 14. "Joy to the World!"

Joy to the World!

Joy to the world
The Lord has come
Let earth receive her King
Let every heart prepare Him room
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and heaven and nature sing
Luke 2:7: She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
Here’s what I can’t figure out about Mary and Joseph’s trip to Bethlehem. Why do they need to book a guest room? They’re traveling to Joseph’s town. Bethlehem isn’t Tokyo, New York or Sao Paulo. At most, there are a few thousand people who live there. Surely, one of Joseph’s cousins has a futon Mary could crash on.
Is there really no physical space for Mary and Joseph in his extended family’s homes? Or is there just no emotional, psychological, spiritual place for them? Are they being blackballed because of Mary’s pregnancy? Or some unresolved family conflict? Either way, nobody who knows Joseph (and certainly somebody does) has prepared room for him.
What’s the vacancy rate in your heart these days?
Is there any margin for unannounced guests?
Have you ever stopped to consider that you’ve got a limited amount of square footage in your heart? Hearts are funny that way. As a parent, you can go from one child to two and find the capacity to love both immensely. From this vantage point, you’ve got unlimited bandwidth for love.
But if you’ve ever been hurt, you know a Wound can set up a cot in the corner of your heart. Over time, he invites his old friend Resentment over. Resentment may reach out to Indifference and his brother Rage, along with his sometimes girlfriend Self-Protection. Eventually, Self-Righteousness and Vindictiveness drop in. Your heart is crowded.
It doesn’t happen on purpose. None of these people were invited, but they’re here now and you’re running low on room. If you plan to welcome the King at Christmas, you’re going to need to free up some space. You don’t get to build an addition, you have clear out the only heart you have.
Peace cannot take a seat in your soul if there’s clutter on the couch.
If you really want to prepare Him room, what needs to go?

Craig Custance