Clearing Space

[Steve McMillan is the Senior Pastor of Oak Park Church of Christ in Calgary.  He originally posted this article on an Advent Blog in 2004.]

Yesterday we put our house up for sale. Tomorrow a prospective buyer is coming to look at it. Which means, of course, that today is a busy day! There are floors to scrub, walls to wipe, carpets to vacuum, dishes to wash, books to re-arrange, and oh, so much junk to get rid of!  We live in a 16ft wide trailer and every bit of space counts.

Not a bad analogy for Advent.

Preparing the way means paving the way. It means clearing out anything that might get in the way of new life. I’m not sure exactly what it will look like for Jesus to come this year. One of the hardest parts of Advent is letting God come in His time AND in His own way. We wait without knowing what exactly will come, not knowing when it will come, what it might look like or how it might change us. We can’t plan it all out but we can get ready. Which means creating space or more precisely, clearing space. There is stuff to clean and stuff to toss. A careful sorting through of old ways, old loves, old paradigms, old edges is essential. Today is the day to empty hearts, minds, schedules and patterns so that there is room for new life. Here’s some stuff that is currently taking up too much space in me.

Independence. The idea that I can take care of myself and everything will be OK as long as I keep working at it.

Family. If I could just get close, committed family around me I will be happy and complete.

Planning. If I can figure out the way that things are going to work I can then get busy making sure they do!

Religion. My soul will be safe when I get my faith sorted out, sifted through and put together.

These are all good things, they are just taking up too much space.  It is hard for me to have space in my house and not fill it with stuff. It is even harder to have space in my heart and not fill it with idols.

Prepare the way. Prepare for something new and something mysterious. Prepare the way for a gift brought in person from the Living God right to you. God Himself will come to those who have saved Him room.

But as for today, what’s taking up too much space?

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