advent  devotional

Making Room

A Devotion for Advent 2019

Imagine for a moment…

The God who created all things, the Lord over the entirety of the heavens, the vast number of stars we’d never hope to count, the King of all that was, is, and will be; chose to come in the most natural way -- a child born to an unwed teenage girl. 

The birth of Jesus is a mystery that reveals something divine to us, and it beckons us to look closely at our own stories. Who am I? Why am I me? Who is God to me? It also encourages us to look beyond our own stories into the lives of others to make room -- the ones who work behind the register or in public service, the ones who travel great distances for safety, the ones who struggle with pain or loss, the ones who sit alone in a crowded room, the ones who are continually forgotten in our communities, the ones God has loved and continually reminded us: they are our neighbors and we are called to love them. 

The night of Jesus’ birth is good news for all people; all people for all time. In that moment, the many years of God’s apparent silence was broken not by a mighty voice, but by the cries of a small baby. In that moment, good news was wrapped in swaddling and placed among the animals. In that moment, every human is reminded of one simple truth: we are all beloved children of God, given intrinsic value and worth, just as we are. Out in the darkness of night, God made room for each and every one of us.

God chooses the unlikely to play an important role in the Gospel. This was not only true in the Bible, but also from the countless people God calls today. One of the most prophetic and fiercely uncompromising voices in recent history was Mr. Rogers. Gentleness. Simplicity. Peace. Hope. Love. These were all values Mr. Rogers not only talked about, but boldly lived out in the community. Through the medium of television, all people were welcomed to his beloved community simply called the “Neighborhood.” Every person was invited to bring their deepest fears, most profound questions, and emotions, where they, and you, were embraced and transformed with the living presence of God -- the Gospel. 

While Mr. Rogers only had one Christmas special during the span of his ministry, every show had the spirit of Advent. Even the nature in which Mr. Rogers hosted the show modeled the same spirit found that night in Bethlehem so many years ago. The same powerful yet quiet voice that came from the Christ-child, is the same kind of soft-spoken voice that Mr. Rogers spoke. 

Just like the warm welcome we received from Mr. Rogers within every show, we are called to imagine a world different from the world that surrounds us. This is a new, re-imagined world that embodies God’s love, mercy, and grace. It embodies room for every person. This is the world that came from a small place with an unlikely family. This is the world, the neighborhood, you are called to come and explore this Advent season.