(NOTE: This is actually an article I wrote for our church bulletin way back in 2007. I really have been wanting to get a blog together, but with a newborn baby and a toddler filling up my life, and my hands, I have been having a hard time finding the time, finger-freedom, and, heck, brain cells to write anything! Though it’s a few years old, it’s still applies to THIS Advent. Please enjoy!)
My family doesn’t hail from the deep South originally. Though we have lived here 30 years or so, neither of my parents nor the oldest 3 of the 5 were born in Alabama. Consequently, pretty much all of our relatives are located in the Northeast – where it snows and is cold in December! Because of the long distance, it was rare in our early lives that we got to spend Christmas with the extended family.
One year, however, when I was about 9 years old (and there were only 4 Rosko children), the parents decided to take us to our grandparent’s house to celebrate Christmas with them and all of our once-a-year seen aunts and uncles. At the time, most of my mother’s siblings were yet to be married. So, we were pretty much superstars of the family. In the eyes of our very creative relatives, this meant they had players for a homemade Christmas pageant. And, because we so rarely got the opportunity to play with our aunts and uncles, why would we say no?
Yours truly was, of course, assigned to be an inn-keeper. It would seem that being the elder sister, I would be the obvious choice for Mary because age and wisdom. But, I was bigger than my sister Francesca and thus, more difficult for my brother Chris to pull around the house on a rocking horse. (There are no small parts, only small actors, right?) Though “only an inn-keeper”, I knew I could make the part my own and deliver the line, “There’s no room at this inn” with the aplomb of Judy Garland, my actress hero at that age. And, so, when Mary and Joseph arrived at my door and I was posed with the infamous question, I proudly stated that, “No, there’s no room at this inn. But, we have a stable in the back that you could use.” An old video recording of this performance shows that I was, indeed, 9 years old, and not quite ready for Broadway!
We see pageants, we sing carols, we hear the readings in Church of the story of the Incarnation again this year. But, has the miracle of Christmas become trite to us? Do we even realize what all these “same olds” are saying to us? Jesus Christ, the Lord and Savior of all humanity is coming to us! The Messiah that the patriarchs, prophets, and kings of old waited and longed for steps into history and conquers death! For thousands of years people longed for Christ – read the Old Testament and you’ll see! We live AFTER the time of Christ and we are lucky enough to KNOW He conquered death because He rose from the dead on Easter. History is changed! We live in hope because we know heaven awaits us! And, THAT’S what makes Christmas so exciting – the Lord God keeping His promise and sending us a Savior.
But, we forget. And, we skip over this blessed time of preparation, Advent, and get caught up in shopping, baking, decorating, and parties. The Holy Church in all her wisdom doesn’t want us to be like the inn keeper who says, “There’s no room at this inn” when Christ comes knocking on the door of our heart at Christmas. Joseph didn’t barge into any of those lodgings and say, “Hey, this is Your Savior my wife is pregnant with! You better let us in right now!” And, in the same way, Christ will not force His way into our hearts. He will ask if He can come in and if we say “no” by our actions or apathy, He’ll quietly move on to the next place.
NOW is the time to get ready! NOW is the time to stop, think, and pray about what is about to happen! We still have a few weeks to get the inn cleaned up, to get the light on, and to be standing ready at the door when He knocks. Then, on Christmas morning, we can confidently swing wide the door to the Christ child and say, “Yes, I have prepared a place for you. Welcome to my inn.”