In an effort so serve those who aren’t podcast listeners (and satisfy my relentless need to experiment) I’m sharing a story from The Next Right Thing Podcast here on the blog. If you’d prefer to listen, tune in to Episode 63: Make Room.
We woke up this morning to a cold, quiet house, fresh snow falling on top of yesterday’s impressive accumulation. The power went out sometime around midnight.
John carried in wood and boiled water for coffee. I emptied the fridge of perishables and packed them in ice. We read by the light of candles and our fireplace, with blankets on our laps, hands wrapped around mugs of hot instant coffee.
Then I outlined a podcast episode with a pen on actual paper so we’re basically homesteaders now.
On Sunday as the snow fell and more kids started to show up at our house, looking for a place to sit and hot chocolate to drink, John suggested we push the sofa back from the rug. It will make more room, he said. We can spread out, he said. And so we did. We pushed back the furniture to make more room.
Making room doesn’t just happen. We have to do it on purpose.
In the end we would get over a foot of snowfall in one day, the third largest recorded in one day in central North Carolina. This snow wouldn’t leave a clean white blanket on our front lawn. Instead the photos show a mostly white scene with rusty brown leaves dotting the ground because this is an early snow for us.
In December, the trees aren’t quite finished shedding their leaves yet. So when an early snowfall comes and the wind picks up, they make room to hold the snow on branches by letting go their leaves.
Like Rahab, whose name means broad, large, a vast space of land; who betrayed her own people to assist the people of God, who made room for spies to find protection from capture, danger, and death, we, too, make room for righteousness and goodness to come take up residency within us.
Like Mary, the mother of God, who had never known a man, who had other plans for her life, who never asked for the choosing, we make room for the Holy interruption to come and weave life in unexpected ways at an unplanned time for the sake of an unknown people.
Like the trees in my front yard shedding brown leaves as snow comes too much too soon, we make room for something new even though it comes too fast, even though it might feel dangerous, even though we aren’t quite ready.
We make room.
This weekend we made room in the fridge for extra food, room in our schedule for kids to miss three days of school and for extra kids to come over and sled.
Today I make room for peace even though chaos ensues. I make room for hope even though my to do list is longer than my not-to-do list.
Maybe your next right thing for today is to consider where you might need to make some room.
Is there a room in your house you need to prepare — to take the boxes from the corner and cover the bed with fresh sheets to make space for a guest?
Is there good, important work hiding beneath the clutter on your desk, keeping you distracted from your calling?
Are there clothes in your closet that no longer fit your body or your life stage?
Are you holding on to an old dream, a former relationship, a worn-out worry that’s taking up too much space and cluttering up your heart?
Might you be willing to create space and make room for something new?
Is it time? Are you ready?
During Advent, it’s true we wait expectantly. It’s also true we’re preparing for an arrival.
What does preparation look like for you today? Might it include creating some space? Making some room? Clearing some clutter, not just the kind you can see?
O God give us eyes to see the extra things we no longer need, both the kind we can touch and the kind invisible.
Be our counselor as we discern our next right thing.
Be our priest as we confess the clutter we’ve allowed to crowd the way.
Be our midwife as we steward new birth.
Be our courage as we dare to be ruthlessly honest and relentlessly gentle with ourselves.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning is now, and will be forever.
If you want some daily help to create space for your soul during December, The Quiet Collection for Christmas is available through Tuesday December 11. For less than a dollar a day, we’ll deliver an audio devotional to your email inbox everyday until Christmas. Learn more here.