Every year, LSN asks its writers to write Christmas reflections before we break for the holiday, and normally, it’s not a problem for me. This year, however, was different. When I received the reminder in my inbox asking for a few thoughts on the Christmas season, I groaned aloud. Without going into too much detail, 2014 has been a rough year for me, and so far, this holiday season has been no exception.
For nearly a week, I tried to force myself to think of something profound to say about the season – the gift of the Christ child, the gift of love, the gift of mercy. But all that I could think about when I sat down to write was my unfinished to-do list, my looming deadlines, my messy house, and my empty bank account – to say nothing of the state of the world at large. Wars and rumors of wars. The surveillance state. The culture of death. Ebola.
The fact is, I feel like I just don’t have the time or energy for Christmas this year. As I write this, my children’s gifts are stacked in my room, still unwrapped. I haven’t purchased a single item for Christmas dinner yet. I desperately need to go to Confession. Meanwhile, it’s December 23. Christmas is not just coming … Christmas is here. And I’m not ready. I am completely unprepared.
I dwelt on this last night and into the wee hours of this morning, as I lay sleepless in my bed. How did this happen? How did Christmas sneak up on me this year, and why don’t I feel like celebrating? How did the coming of our Lord become just another set of tasks on my overwhelming to-do list?
Where, oh Lord, is my joy?
As I lay awake in the darkness, a still, small voice answered me from the depths of my heart: “There is no room at the inn.” I pictured Mary and Joseph, searching in vain for a place to bring Jesus into the world, and finding only a stable. Bethlehem was unprepared for Jesus’ arrival; filled to overflowing with other “important” people; other “important” things. And suddenly, it was crystal clear – I’m like that, too. Jesus is coming, and instead of making room for Him, I’ve filled my mind and heart with other things and other people. But the people of Bethlehem didn’t know any better. I do.
Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.
Don’t get me wrong – the things that preoccupy me are legitimately important: My work with LSN, the happiness and well-being of my busy family, my obligations as a wife and mother. Even my loathed and never-ending task list is important, in terms of keeping the members of my household fed, clothed, and otherwise taken care of. But nothing, nothing is as important as the tiny baby born that magical night in Bethlehem – the boy who would grow into the One – both fully man and fully divine – who saves us all.
This Christmas, I hope you’ve made room at the inn. As for me, I’m going to do the best I can to get ready with the little time I have left. The to-do list can wait. Right now, it’s more important to take down the “No Vacancy” signs in my mind and heart.
Joy to the world; the Lord is come.
Let Earth receive her King.
Let every heart prepare him room …
Editor's Note: As has been our custom for over a decade, LifeSiteNews is again this year publishing Christmas reflections by our staff. For a full listing of this year's reflections, click here.