The URL for this blog comes from a hymn by Martha Spong, written a couple of years ago. It happens to be an Advent hymn, so I thought I'd post about it on this first Sunday of Advent.
If God can find a corner small,
a town constricted as a tomb,
to house the sweeping Life of all,
we too can find a little room.
I have two weeks until finals and, if I'm counting right, six assignments due by Wednesday. The past few days I've been on Thanksgiving break, so I took the opportunity to travel, especially since Hungary's Christmas markets have just opened. When I've been home, I've been pretty worn out. Despite that, I spent several hours yesterday and today cleaning.
I don't generally enjoy cleaning. I'm usually comfortable with some level of mess, and I don't like that things tend to get messier before they get cleaner. But Advent is about preparing the way, about every heart preparing Him room, about finding a little room. Yes, that room is primarily spiritual, but our faith is inherently active and physical, not solely spiritual. We think of Lent as the cleaning season, but preparing a way is more than pushing everything else out of the way. That always causes problems later. So I cleaned. I knew that in order to find and prepare proper room in my heart, I needed to make physical room. I needed to sweep and do dishes and sort through the huge piles of paper that always manage to accumulate when I'm not looking.
Christ is "the sweeping Life of all." Christ is Emmanuel, God with us. God found a corner small, a cave in a crowded town, to come to us. We too can "clear the chaos and the clutter, clear our eyes that we may see all the things that really matter, be at peace, and simply be" ("Come and Find the Quiet Center"). We can find a little room for God to truly be with us.
If God requires but little space,
an unassuming mother’s womb,
to birth God’s spacious Gift of grace,
we too can be a little room.
But we can do more than simply find a little room or prepare a little room. God will fill all the space we give, but our true calling is to be room. To be room is to give of ourselves and sing praise to the Lord, for, as Mary said, our souls to magnify the Lord and our spirits to rejoice in our Savior, to truly live as the Body, to be a vessel of God's grace in the world.
If little room is room to spare,
a stable’s manger plain and rough,
to cradle everlasting Care,
we too have room, and room enough.
We are enough. God created us, God loves us, and God calls us just as we are. We are enough, and we have room enough, even if right now it is only a little. It is only with God's help that our room can grow larger; on our own we do not have that power. God's grace has a way of finding all the spaces, of pushing us and growing us. God is at work, and God will be at work. We will not stay just as we are, but we are enough. Come.
And even if we still mistake
a mansion’s pomp for God’s embrace,
whatever room we sinners make,
Good Love will gladly fill the place.
The first Advent candle is for hope.
We don't always get it right. So often, we are mistaken. We forget who God is; we look in all the wrong places. But God is a God of grace, and Jesus is the "gift of the Father's unfailing grace" (A Modern Affirmation). This is not only the thing on which our hope is based but is itself our hope. We are not worthy, but God heals. God comes to us. We are mistaken, we are sinners, we are lost, but God still comes, and God's love still fills whatever room we make.
Light the first candle, prepare Him room, and hope.