"One response was given by the innkeeper when Mary and Joseph wanted to find a room where the Child could be born. The innkeeper was not hostile; he was not opposed to them, but his inn was crowded; his hands were full; his mind was preoccupied. This is the answer that millions are giving today. Like a Bethlehem innkeeper, they cannot find room for Christ. All the accommodations in their hearts are already taken up by other crowding interests. Their response is not atheism. It is not defiance. It is preoccupation and the feeling of being able to get on reasonably well without Christianity." ~ Billy Graham ~
“Jesus?” I called. “Where are you Jesus?” I was feeling really lonely and had some questions for my Lord and Savior.
I heard much of the regular beating of my heart, along with the buzz of the Christmas activity. I heard the anger of harried shoppers and the pain of many a customer. I heard the rush of my husband’s final school days and the cries of a sister torn in two. I heard my parents doting on this pained sister. I heard my brother applauding my own ‘seeming’ stability during this family upheaval.
I heard the radio blaring another Christmas tune and the lights blinking as I made my way home. I heard the television droning on with yet another commercial counting down the shopping days remaining. I heard the phone ringing and ringing as I chose to ignore it in my search for my Lord.
Somewhere in the distance I heard a familiar voice. I heard the comfort and the love that embodies grace and mercy in speech. I heard love louder and louder as I began my escape to its resonance.
I closed the doors to the center of my heart to stifle some of the noise as I ventured beyond the safety of the rhythm I had grown comfortable and accustomed to each day. I followed the twisting, turning, cavernous space listening for more of the comfort I heard only a decibel of earlier.
The closer I came to the doorway OUT, the stronger I heard the voice…louder and louder with each step.
“I am here. I am right here.” He called.
There at the doorway of escape from my heart was my Lord Jesus.
“Why are you all the way over here, Lord?” I asked with uncertainty.
“You put me here, my child. You chose the shopping, the lights, the music, your job, your decision making, even emotions to be the center of your life.” He answered honestly. How sad is the day when my heart is so overcrowded, Jesus must be forced to the stables…the outer court of my heart, and I don't even realize it.
“Please Lord, Please…come home! Forgive me and come back to the center of my heart, where only YOU belong. Help me see when the light begins to fade and the darkness prevails. Help keep me from getting lost in the deceiving lure of the world.” I pleaded with Him.
The Lord then took my hand and we walked together back to this place. I listened, as we walked, to what He had to say. I listened as He reminded me to renew myself daily with His word, His truth, His love. I listened and cleaned as we walked. The road somehow seemed longer on the way back to the center.
I discarded the music and television. I unplugged the phone. I prayed with Him at the places my family resides and held a little tighter to the hand leading me onward.
Eventually we made our way back to a newly refreshed and newly FILLED heart core. The Lord reminded me to seek Him daily, first thing…to look for Him there in the center and hold Him there in the center…each day.
I breathed a bit easier and more assured as I faced the day before me.
Today I pray that my foolish fullness would remind me daily how easy it is to push the Lord out to the ‘stables’, even when I think He’s in the center. I pray I would always hear His voice over the others. I pray I would seek and know Him more daily. I pray He would so pierce my heart and grow so large that the only way out is through my mouth and onto others.