Make Room

St. Michael’s Vicarage
Alnwick

Dear People of Alnwick,

By the time you read this letter our “Posada” project will have begun again for another year. The figures of Mary and Joseph will have started out on their journey around the homes of our parish, accepting the gracious hospitality of those who will give them shelter for a night and, in so doing, prepare not only their homes but also their hearts for the coming of God’s only Son at Christmas.

There is something so simple, and yet so profound, about this business of “making room” which “Posada” helps us to understand.

In my student days in Sheffield the Organist and his wife at the church I attended kept “open house” for many young folk who, like me, were away from home for the first time. On a Sunday evening, after Evensong, a whole crowd of us would be invited back to their home for supper together with their own large family and their respective spouses or girlfriends/boyfriends. No matter how many turned up – and often it was quite a crowd – the greeting was always the same: “Come in, we can always make room for one or two more!”

Our lives can often become “crowded out” with the many and varied pursuits of 21st century living. At times, even the things we do for pleasure can begin to overwhelm us and we wonder if we can possibly fit anything more into the day or the week that lies ahead.

Sometimes we simply can’t and then the quality of our life begins to deteriorate. That, of course, is the signal for us to take stock, to sort out our priorities and to make some difficult decisions about what is and is not important in our lives.

God the Father saw that the lives of humanity were completely “crowded out” with sin and realised that he needed to send his Son to earth to save us from our own destruction.

Down the years succeeding generations of Christians have been brought to a realisation that making room for Jesus in their lives is the most life-enhancing decision they ever make.

So, as Mary and Joseph make their way around the parish during Advent we need to give some time to thinking about how much room we have in our own lives for the things that really matter. As the busyness of the coming weeks invades every corner of our lives we could all do much worse than pray in the words of that lovely hymn:

“O come to my heart, Lord Jesus
There is room in my heart for thee.”

If we do, how much more meaningful will be the words of Phillips Brookes that will be sung in thousands of places of worship this Christmastide:

“O holy child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin, and enter in, be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell:
O come to us, abide with us, Our Lord Emmanuel”.

With every blessing for a Christmas with room for Christ,

Paul.

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