I wonder how it felt for Mary and Joseph as they arrived into Bethlehem. Perhaps the streets were heaving with people. Dust flying everywhere as people hurried around. I wonder if Mary’s anxiety rose each time they approached somewhere they might stay. Knowing how soon the baby would come. Knowing how many people were cramming into the town. Knowing they simply had to find somewhere safe soon.

No room.

No room for the new baby’s arrival.

In the end, he’d arrive amongst the animals, unseen by most, unnoticed. Out of sight. Out of mind. The world changed forever and so few people noticed.

There was simply, no room for him.

Over the last few years, I have stumbled onto Christmas morning almost surprised to find myself there. I’ve arrived at church to sing carols, hear the Christmas story and realised that I have been totally unprepared to be there.

The decorations have been up. The present have been wrapped. The parties have been attended.

But there was no room.

No room for Jesus in the busyness. No room for Jesus in my over tired mind. No room for his arrival.

I want this year to be different. I am resolved to make use of the ancient rhythm of Advent not just for the practical preparations for Christmas, but to prepare room for the arrival of the King. To clear intentional space so that as Christmas arrives, my head, my heart, and my life are ready to welcome the arrival of the baby who changed everything.

I’ve bought an advent devotional book. I’m breaking out an advent worship CD. And I’m planning the rhythms and rituals to help my children anticipate Jesus’ arrival for themselves. And I’m praying that things will be different when Christmas morning arrives.

Perhaps this isn’t something you struggle with. Perhaps the space is already prepared in your life for Jesus’ arrival. But maybe not, maybe you are like me. And so I hope this might spur you on, like me, to prepare room for the arrival of this tiny baby in just a few weeks time.

Let’s let Advent remind us to clear room in the busyness of our hearts, minds and lives, to remember the arrival of this tiny baby. And we just might find that as we clear room to remember his arrival at Christmas, we might find ourselves becoming more prepared for the day that Jesus returns again once more.