Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation, that your Son Jesus Christ, at his coming, may find in us a mansion prepared for himself; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Collect for the 4th Sunday of Advent, BCP, p 212
This collect invites us to make room for Christ in our lives. I fear, however, we are not too good at creating mansions as the prayer suggests. If I have created anything more than a hovel, I would be surprised. So, when I reflect on the birth narrative from Luke, I recognize that the story is as much about how we neglect to make space for Jesus in our lives as it is about any particular historic event. Yet Jesus comes anyway. Luke collected stories and reflections that would have meaning for his earliest listeners, so I imagine that there was something that resonated on hearing the birth narrative. I recognize that it was not into palaces and mansions but a stable that Jesus was born. It was not the movers and shakers, those in the know, who were the first to be told about Jesus, but simple farmworkers. Jesus wasn’t born and offered the finest bedding in a crib fit for a king but was placed in a feeding trough, with some strips of cloth for warmth, all housed in the first century equivalent of a garage. I trust that what it comes to me, Jesus settles for the equivalent of a few boxes scootched to the side and a moth-eaten blanket for warmth because sometimes that’s the best I can do.