I will not enter my house or get into my bed; I will not give sleep to my eyes or slumber to my eyelids, until I find a place for the Lord, a dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob.
We don’t usually think of the Lord as having a dwelling place. God is bigger than any structure, any way we have of limiting this limitless God, any attempt to keep the Lord within boundaries. So, how, then, do we find a dwelling place? How do you prepare a place for a God that cannot be held, that cannot be contained? How do we prepare for this coming?
God came into this world when perhaps the world was not fully prepared for God’s coming. Oh, we probably thought we were. We had worshipped the Lord, designating altars and laying down offerings. We had called places holy with the hopes that they might hold God for us, make God accessible. We had made dwelling places for the Lord. But then God came. There were no processions of grandeur, no announcement fit for royalty. There was no pomp. There was no flash. To be honest, there was no warning. And we were not ready. Why didn’t you tell us you were coming, so that we couldn’t have been ready? We had not made room for God in this world. And so God came in silence, peacefully slipping into the back corner of our world while kings and princes and priests alike made their usual noises out front. God came. There really wasn’t room. And so God laid down in the darkness and made a dwelling for the Godself. God took what was there–a little bit of hay, perhaps some cast away cloths, and a dark and dank room filled with the stench of animal dung. And God made a dwelling. God made a dwelling in the most primal, most humble place imaginable. And the kings and princes and priests noisily laid down in their soft beds and went to sleep. There didn’t seem to be any room for God. We just weren’t prepared. We just weren’t ready. Maybe we just weren’t paying attention. And so we slept.
God still comes. Every year, every day, every moment, God comes. God comes into this world that is probably not ready. How do we find a place for the Lord? How do we prepare the way? I think the problem is that God does not show up in those things that we have built or those things that we have collected over the year. And now that I’ve spent hours putting all those decorations all over my house, I am hit with the realization that they don’t make God come any faster. The truth is, God probably still slips into to the dark corners of our lives, the places that are not so full of our plans and our things and our make-readies. God is probably more likely to again show up in the primal parts of my life, those parts that are not stacked to the brim with things that I think God will like, things that make me feel like I’m ready for God, but rather in the places that I have cleared away the debris and made room. God comes into hearts and lives that have room for God to dwell. Oh, don’t get me wrong. God’s deepest desire is to be everywhere, to be there for all of God’s children, to be there for you and for me. But sometimes, there still just isn’t room.
In this Advent season of waiting and preparing, somewhere between the cheesecakes I made for yesterday’s Open House and the Christmas decorations that so brightly adorn my home, somewhere in the midst of the buying and the wrapping and the bulletin-making and the worrying, somewhere…somewhere I have to make room. Because God wants to come. God desires more than anything to dwell in my life. So how do I prepare a dwelling place for God? I clear a path. I make room. As the Scripture says, before we slumber, before we sleep, we make room. We make a dwelling. We become one with room in our lives for God to come and God to work and God to create us once again.
Making Room: When I first met him, I knew in a moment I would have to spend the next few days re-arranging my mind so there’d be room for him to stay. (Brian Andreas, “The Story People”)
FOR TODAY: Make room. Clear everything away. Be a dwelling. God so wants to stay.
Grace and Peace,