Christmas Advent Day 3: Preparing Our Homes
Then the righteous will answer him, saying, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?” And the King will answer them, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:37-40, ESV)
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. (James 1:27, ESV)
He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing. (Deuteronomy 10:18, ESV)
And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. (Luke 2:7, ESV)
You’re eight years old and your mom is frantically running around the house, dusting under cabinets and cleaning the wall behind the sink. She’s yelled at you three times now because she desperately needs you to clean your room. You aren’t entirely sure how having dinner guests this Christmas night correlates with the cleanliness of your room, but you begrudgingly head up to tidy up the toys you’ve just unwrapped. Now you’re the adult. You’re the one who’s going a little crazy with cleaning and potentially leaving your kids blinking in confusion in your wake.
Cleaning. It’s everyone’s least favorite part of the holiday season. Why do we do it? Why, guests, of course! We have to get everything spick and span so they don’t assume anyone actually lives in our homes. Sure does feel good when it’s all cleaned up, though, right? Well, that’s not quite the home preparation we’re talking about when it comes to Advent. When it comes to preparing our homes for Christ, it has much more to do with the front door than the dust bunnies under the couch.
When we picture the nativity scene, we see a young couple, probably dirty and tired, sitting in a bed of hay in some type of barn or animal shelter. Between them we see a tiny baby all wrapped in cloth, sleeping peacefully in a feeding trough. As we all know, the little town of Bethlehem was overcrowded at the time due to the census, so the young couple was turned away from the inn and given shelter elsewhere. What a missed opportunity, right? The Messiah could have been delivered right there in their inn, but instead, the miracle of His birth took place outside among the animals. So, that begs the question, what would have happened had they opened the door? Maybe we should look at our life the same way.
Typically, at this time of year we welcome friends and family into our homes for various reasons, whether for meals or parties. What does it look like to open our homes to the Lord? Just as the Lord tells us in Matthew 25, opening our homes to the Lord means welcoming in and taking care of those in need. Let in the homeless, tend to the ill, care for the orphans and widows. You never know what amazing things may come from it and you don’t want to miss out on the miracles of God, as the inn dwellers did that night so many years ago.
So, as you sweep the floors and tidy up the living room, think of your neighbors in need. Take time to volunteer at a shelter or a soup kitchen. Donate to organizations who are helping those in need. Give a helping hand to the couple sitting in the row next to you at church who is struggling to make ends meet. Invite a lonely college student over for dinner and ask them how everything is going this year. Go sit with the elderly brother or sister who has been alone for quite some time now. Open your doors and let Christ in this holiday season.