Thursday, December 22, 2016

Preparing Room

God bursts into our smallest spaces and fills them up with as much of Himself 
as the room-maker will receive. ~ Rod and De Ishmael

The advent devotional I read this morning took me back to a rough ride over the unpaved streets of one of the poorest and historically most dangerous barrios in our jungle-city. Block homes crammed side-by-side behind impenetrable walls, guarded by steel gates and razor wire gave way to neighborhoods of fragile wood dwellings nestled, unprotected and vulnerable, alongside the road.

In these off-the-beaten-path places, with gaping windows and open doorways, barefoot boys smile and wave in the encroaching dusk. Apron-clad generations carry laden bowls to roadside cook fires, rain or shine, to sell evening filler. It's December. Here and there a lone, out-of-place strand of fuchsia dimly signals the inhabitants' anticipation: Christmas is coming.

Christmas coming against a backdrop of muddied lawns, of peeling paint, of somber women bent hard over smokey fires, rhythmically pounding life in corn-flour circles. Here, in this anything-but-a-Christmas-card-scene place, with its suffocating, sloppy-wet normal, God comes.

He comes now. Comes like He did then.

The King of all kings. Creator God Himself writhed through torn flesh and burst forth, all a mess and vulnerable, into the most unlikely place. To that tiny, out of the way place where someone had just enough time to move aside those everyday beasts; to make a little room.

God came into the dust and the stench of waste and ruin. With no sparkle and dazzle. No celebration and festivity. Into a household displaced by circumstances, fraught with the mar of whispered scandal. Into the screaming chaos of a world gasping for life lost. Into the mess of us, God breathed life -- and the Hope of Salvation was born.  He came then. He comes now ... every moment ... wherever the tiniest room is made. God bursts into our smallest spaces and fills them up with as much of Himself as the room-maker will receive.

Let every heart ...

Today I had to move furniture to set up that scrawny little artificial tree I really don't enjoy messing with every year. Why? Because truth is I simply don't like the disruption of my own easy familiar -- my comfortable, my control -- to make room for something so temporary.

That's the hard work, isn't it. When the preparing and making room becomes about a momentary process and causes you to lose sight of the the eternally loving Person that this whole marvelous season is about.

God doesn't ask this of you, this hard striving. He comes quiet and still. Whispers to your heart with an invitation so tender who could refuse? He comes softly, simply, peacefully into whatever space you create for Him today. One simple turning of your focus toward His love and forgiveness, of centering your life and heart in the cup of His grace and mercy, and God comes right into that barely carved out, imperfect, not quite ready place of you.

Prepare Him room...

Merry Christmas, dear friends! God bless you with the joy of His coming. Then. Now. Soon.

Simply Serving,
Rod & De Ishmael


Crescent Lake Christian Center, 1250 St. Louis Ave., Excelsior Springs, MO 64024