Keeping Room

Even the sparrow has found a home,
And the swallow a nest for herself,
Where she may lay her young-
A place near Your altar
LORD Almighty, my King and my God.

Psalm 84:3

As I sit at my writing desk, snow has quieted the street where I live. I stepped outside early this morning and snapped this photo of little birdie feet on my snow-drifted porch. The bird's footprints were a reminder to me that the Christmas story of finding room for my Savior to be born is not over yet.

I have been thinking that at Christmastime there was a whole lot of re-arranging going on around here. We re-arranged our furniture to make room for the Christmas tree. In our house, that meant moving Mike's favorite leather chair out of the corner by the window.

I cleared off all kinds of surfaces to make room for Christmas cheer,

the table in the entry . . .

the mantel for greenery and a winter scene . . .

my kitchen windowsill for a "Merry & Bright" sign . . .

and a cozy spot for the Nativity.

We even re-arranged time, making space for tree decorating, shopping for gifts, Christmas card writing and sweet baking. This year Mike and I set aside a little extra time for daily Advent readings and an evening Advent service near our home.

Making room for Christmas in our homes and calendars and hearts is good! What we are really making room for is celebrating Christ's birthday. That mercy day our God came down to meet us as a baby in a barn. All the wrappings of Christmas can cloud the true heart of the day. Yet I was thinking that a few things we do at Christmastime can remind us what was meant to happen in our souls all year long.

Making room is one of those things. As we turn the corner into the New Year, I am keeping that room. My first act is a non-act. My house is still very Christmassy. It is not the first time I have headed into the New Year with my tree still up, but this is the first year I know why.

Epiphany.

The wise men are still following the star to Bethlehem! And if, as I told you, I am the little drummer boy, then I am still on my way with my gift too. (I know he did not arrive with the Magi, but with the song in 1955. Still, it works as a real life prompt for me to offer my small gifts in ways that honor my King.)

Friends, we are still in the Twelve Days of Christmas! We always hear about the two turtledoves and a Partridge in a pear tree leading up to Christmas Day, but did you know the Twelve Days actually begin on Christmas Day and go to Epiphany? You probably did, but I am new to keeping Christmastide all the way to Epiphany. It is new soul space to explore, these days between Christmas Eve and January 6.

Epiphany.

I have my eye on the star. Following the star is a trek across our familiar borders, an unwrapping of gifts, an unveiling of deep meaning far from expected thrones and crowns. With our eye on the galaxies, we may still need to ask directions. Oh heart, be willing! On calendar time, we might be late and yet, we cannot be in a hurry. We are in kairos time. My worship of the Babe is a starlit discovery of outlandish, generous, dangerous love, both hidden and bright.

I am in no rush to leave the Babe in the barn or the Twelve Days of Christmas. There are lessons here. I have set my Christmastide heart to keep the star in view. In a few day's time, I will take my Christmas reminders all down and pack them away in boxes until next year. But I am keeping all the rearranging that I did, all the room I made in my heart, rustic though it is, all year long. That humble space, a birthing barn, will become a home to grow up in. It will be under the star, near the hearth, a keeping room very near the altar.

Meet me there.