WELCOME YOUR GUEST
And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. (Luke 2:4-7)
No room at the inn. So sorry we are full. Poor Mary and Joseph had nowhere to go. How full is the inn of your heart? Is there room for more of Jesus to reside inside? Jesus is infinite. There is always more of Jesus to know and to live. There are more gifts to bestow and more people to know. His love holds no bounds. All He asks of you is to give Him your heart; that is all!
This is by far one of my favorite memories. My heart overflows with gratefulness once again as I share it. It was August 6, 1982. Not only was it the day I birthed my fourth child — my third girl in a row — but also the day before my birthday. Amanda Joy was my birthday present. She was filled with grace upon her arrival, and so were we as we received her at 2 am that morning. Our pretty-in-pink bundle of joy came home with us by 4 am & she was beautiful. I was exhausted. Unbeknownst to me, my husband and friends had planned a surprise birthday party at our home that evening for me and Father John Lyons. We were hosting it. With little sleep and all the joys of having a baby less than 24 hours old, guests began to arrive. Boy was I surprised; now exhausted in body and sleep deprived. Mongan babies never slept. Amanda was up for the party. It was an enormous accomplishment. You had to be there. This was probably my biggest birthday celebration ever. The day was filled with phone calls, gifts, & presents. Love knows no bounds. I was blessed indeed and grateful. Now less than 48 hours into a new mommy again, and no rest in sight, I told my husband something I never had told him before. “Baby, I am exhausted. No more people, no more presents, & no more love! I am too exhausted to receive the love.” I was sure he understood.
As I closed my eyes to rest and nurse my wee one, my dear sweet husband walks in. I murmured, “Honey I am resting. remember I am a no nap kind of gal.” He said, “But just come here one minute.” I knew I had too. He was wearing that face that looks like he swallowed a canary. I knew something was up. Surprise is hard to hide when you are smiling ear to ear. I willingly grabbed my birthday present, swaddled in her pink blanket and followed my husband. To my surprise about 20 of my favorite sisters in the Lord had gathered to welcome us outside my door. My husband, the man of chivalry had brought a folding chair for me to rest. I felt like a queen for the moment. One gal had brought a guitar and they all joined together in that old familiar song, “Happy Birthday to you.” Tears flowed and there was not enough Kleenex to dry my tears of joy. I was overwhelmed by God’s love. My heart swelled with joy, love, and the peace that only he can give. The inn of my heart was way too full of God’s love bestowed upon me through His people. I could not hold any more.
How full are you of Christ’s love? Are you pressed down, shaken together, and over flowing? Does your cup overflow or has it run dry? We can be so busy serving Jesus or knowing about him, that we never ever get to know him for ourselves, like Job. “I knew about you from my friend but now I know you for myself.” No one can take Jesus away from you, and once you know Him you will stake your life on Him. You will run to Him in the Sacrament, rejoice in Him throughout the day, and live for Him until you meet Him face to face.
Martha, Martha, Martha. You have to love her. She just wanted to bless her guest. Sadly she was so busy cleaning, cooking, and preparing that she was too exhausted to sit down and enjoy Jesus. Not Mary, however. She paused and took the time for the most important thing of all, Jesus. Did you ever wonder what Jesus was telling Mary? I think he was telling her great and mighty things which she didn’t know before. Did you ever wonder if she got up on her feet at the end of the night after she bid Jesus farewell, and helped her sister with the dishes? Of course she did; she knew Jesus. I would have loved to see the look on Martha’s face when Mary began to put on her apron of humility and say to her sister, Martha, “Do you need any help?” She was now ready to serve after she had ample time to spend time at the feet of Jesus. Her face was glowing and she was wearing a permanent smile that said, “Thanks for all you did Sis. It was lovely.”
Let‘s face it ladies, we can be so exhausted preparing, cleaning, cooking, and beautifying that we have no energy left to welcome our guest. Can you see now why Jesus said, “Martha, Martha, you are busy about many things. Mary has chosen the better portion!”
What will Jesus say to you on Christmas Day? What will you give to the King?
Time is a funny thing but I am not laughing. We always find the time to feed our newborn babies because babies cannot wait. But how many of us are feeding our souls? Christmas is a time when there are cards to address, presents to wrap, and parties to attend, adding a whole new life to our already overly-committed busy life. Let’s face it, in order to have a Mary heart in a Martha “world,” we have to be two people. Or, we have to ask God if he could just create another day of the week. Think about it, if you had eight days in the week you would fill that up too. In order to prepare for the King of Glory to come anew, we must take the time to pause and pray.
In our very own Southern Cross, Pope Francis is quoted as saying, “The relationship with the God-who-comes-to-visit-us casts a different light on everything.” He says, “Advent encompasses a call to expand our heart’s horizons. To do this, we must learn not to depend on our own established strategies.” Awaiting the Lord means preparing, “to let ourselves be visited by him, even if it disturbs our plans.”
Jesus is coming. It will be a surprise appearance. Be ready at all times. Joseph knocked on many doors before he could find a place to welcome the Savior of the world. There was no room at the inn, so Jesus was born in a stable instead of a palace. The more we empty ourselves of sin and self-centeredness, the more room we have in our hearts and lives to birth the Savior within us. It is a new season. Ready yourself in Prayer. Seek out, as the kings did, the Savior of the world. Is there room at the inn of your heart to house Him?
While the world is only preparing in the natural, let us who know the meaning of Christmas and whose birthday it is. May we choose the better portion and prepare on the inside. Jesus is coming. Are you ready? If Jesus would knock on the door of your heart is there room on the inside? Are you ready? Ladies, Christmas is coming. There is work to be done and we must clean, cook, set the table, and welcome the most important guest. Take some time to pause, go into the stable, and welcome him.
photo credit: Steve Tolcher Photography Our Festive Front Door. #Christmas #decorations #Door #Wreath via photopin (license)