BY PAMELA LARSEN SCHROEDER, MSN, PMGT-BC, BCC
Augustus Caesar decreed that all the Roman Empire should be registered in their own towns and taxed. Joseph and his betrothed wife, Mary (who was with child) traveled from Nazareth in Galilee to Bethlehem, the city of David, as Joseph was of the lineage of David. It was no doubt an arduous journey; given the terrain, seasonably cold weather, and distance of about 90 miles. Of course, there was the added factor of Mary’s advanced pregnancy…all that walking and bouncing around on a donkey.
By the time Joseph and Mary arrived in Bethlehem, there were no vacancies at the local inn. Instead, they were able to take shelter in a stable among the animals. Not a moment too soon!
“And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.” (Luke 2:7 KJV)
Fast forward to current time: wrapping up fourth quarter academic or professional activities; starting a busy holiday season; medical appointments before starting a new deductible year; and so much more.
Jesus knocks at the door of our hearts, inviting us to commune with Him. He gently asks, “have you any room for me?” Will he get a “no vacancy” reply from us? So many people are overbooked or overloaded with seemingly endless to-do lists. Often there are shifting or conflicting priorities. If Jesus catches our attention, we may respond with something like: “I know that’s important and I want to connect with you…but I don’t have enough time.” Or perhaps we’ll check back in case of cancellation and see if there is an after-hours opening before bedtime…provided we are not too tired and fall asleep first.
We may even get off course at times and not seek out Jesus unless we want help with a problem or have needs that seem too big or important to confidently handle on our own. Or when there’s too much at stake. Jesus is always on-call, 24/7. He is gracious and gladly takes our fears, anxieties, and burdens that we surrender to him.
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30 KJV)
Even if the problem or challenge is not immediately resolved, our soul can find respite as He lifts our emotional distress. He speaks to us with calm authority, “peace, be still”! As we rest in Him, our thinking brain comes back online and our mind is transformed. Confidence is restored because of who He is, the great I AM. Then we truly can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. (Philippians 4:13)
This may be a good time of year to reflect on our current relationship with Jesus and what we desire it to be going forward. Is our connection with him truly quality time that nourishes and equips us, or is it merely a snack or left-over?
“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” (John 15:4-7 KJV)
To make room for Jesus on a regular, sustainable basis, we likely need a plan. When we lack a specific daily plan for connecting with Jesus, it is not as likely to happen. Being intentional is a start. Here are a few brain-storming ideas.
- Schedule it on calendar like any other commitment or appointment and honor it
- Keep it simple, easy, and attainable to build consistency and success (5 minutes is OK)
- Listen to, sing along with, or hum praise or worship music
- Declare promises from scriptures over us, loved ones, or a situation as the Spirit leads
- Integrate it into other activities throughout the day (such as: prayer-walking; listening to a podcast or audio scripture while working out; or during a regular commute)
- Consider “finding time” through decreasing social media use
- Join a small group for mutual learning (iron sharpens iron) and one-anothering
- Try in-person worship together again with like-minded believers instead of virtual
- Use a brief daily gratitude practice that suits you
- Keep short accounts and choose to forgive all offenses quickly with God’s help; repent; and bless all involved, including self
- Release people and situations that rob your peace
See what resonates with you; add other ideas. Own it…make it yours!
At this Christmas season and approaching year-end, Jesus knocks once again at our heart’s door. He is gently asking, “have you any room for me”? May we be encouraged to take time to invite Him in, open the door, and commune with Him. He has time to listen. According to Psalm 139, we are always on His mind!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Pamela Larsen Schroeder is a faith-based health and wellness coach who empowers individuals to create and implement their own blueprint for self-care and whole-person health. Her passion includes coaching those who have a life-changing diagnosis; chronic conditions, including pain; and caregivers supporting those who do. Learn more about Pam at https://healingsupportservices.com/