Come, Lord Jesus: The Weight of Waiting is now available! For the next few weeks I have invited the members of my “street team” to share their stories and reflections on the book, the topic of waiting, and Advent.
Next to my bed, atop my perpetual stack of books, stands a single doll from my childhood.
She is not a single doll really. She’s a babushka, one of those traditional Russian nesting dolls made of lacquered wood with a painted headscarf tied under her chin. She is hollow, but she is far from empty. In fact, she is a doll within a doll within a doll, opening again and again.
I was reading from that stack Kris Camealy’s Advent book, Come, Lord Jesus” when I arrived at December 14: A Dwelling Place. In 2 Samuel 7, God talks about homes and where He lives. Home is a favorite theme of mine so I lingered there.
God tells David,
“Also, the Lord tells you that he will make you a house.”
It almost seemed like an afterthought, like “by the way”. But I don’t think God has afterthoughts. Besides, in the context of the story it made no sense. David had just built himself a house and God did not ask for a house. Solomon would build a cedar house for God, but there seemed something more, something hidden here in the idea of God making a house.
I believe God was saying David’s heart could be His dwelling place if he could just make room. You can see this shaping of a heart throughout the Psalms. The very phrase “make room” implies there is space to be had if you can swing it, things rearranged to create space.
I felt this rearranging recently when we opened our home to our youngest daughter’s Cross Country team, twelve college girls for a race near our city. Here’s what it looked like: snapping fresh sheets onto the beds (including blow-up mattresses on the floor), pushing back furniture to accommodate those mattresses, gathering up quilts and comforters, folding fresh towels and buying enough food to feed an army of runners.
The next morning, they left in a whirlwind, beds still warm where they had burrowed under the covers, damp towels piled high on the washer, and forks crisscrossed on plates stacked by the kitchen sink.
The tospy-turvy aftermath of all that rearranging, cleaning, cooking and making beds for long-legged sleeping girls, made my head spin and my heart fly.
The first Advent was full of rearranging:
* Zachariah rearranged what he thought possible for a new baby born to an old man, not named after him.
* Elizabeth rearranged a past-her-prime body for a late-in-life baby named John.
* Joseph rearranged his plans to quietly divorce Mary along with his passions for his wedding night.
* Mary rearranged her reputation, the start of her marriage and her dreams of motherhood for a scandalous baby.
God is still making room today, throwing open doors, moving stars around, busting in between heaven and earth and saying,
Make room, make room for Me in your everything.
When God becomes flesh, it isn’t comfortable. It wasn’t meant to be. There are elbows and knees in places they’ve never been. There is stretching and groaning in every ligament that holds you together. There is struggle to make room, to rearrange for another life to inhabit your body, your soul and your heart.
That struggle to rearrange continues in us today. We may make room for Christ, but then so many things rush in to fill the space – shopping, wrapping, decorating, visiting, card writing and cooking. Not one of them is bad unless Jesus is never home.
That’s the beauty of celebrating Advent. Well before Christmas, we clear out clutter, move things around and not just for the tree. We think about our baby guest becoming a permanent part of our family. We deflate that blow-up mattress and snap sheets across a real bed in His own room. We quiet the room that is our hearts.
But there is more babushka.
Those Russian nesting dolls hold a clue.
While each doll is hiding inside the next larger doll, each larger doll is housing the next size down, all the way to a baby. There is a sense of housing and being housed, of sheltering and being sheltered, of holding and being held.
“I am in the Father, and you in Me, and I in you.”
“Abide in Me and I in you”.
And there it is. HOME.
HOME is so much more than four walls; it is knocking knees and elbows, wrestling down truth and lies, holding broken hearts, life touching life. There will be tears.
Making our hearts Jesus’ home and Jesus our heart’s home is HOME as it was meant to be. Being HOME means keeping it familiar and real between our broken hearts and His, nesting in His arms, dreaming His dreams, having tender and spirited conversations at His table, and my personal favorite, coming home again and again and bringing our running friends knowing He left the porch light on.
I’ll be HOME for Christmas. How ‘bout you, babushka?
An Advent prayer from Kris to me to you to God,
You sent your Son to make His home among us,
and by His coming we have been invited to make our home in Him.
Lord, steady us as we wait for you.
Guest Post By
Terri Conlin: I am a freckle-faced girl with blue eyes and red hair. I am a southern girl who lives in the Pacific Northwest. I love Jesus, poetry, home and story. I start everyday with my bible and a great cup of coffee. Read more from Terri HERE.