“Let every heart prepare him room.” This lyric from the famous Christmas hymn sums up the last nine months for me as Jamie, Mary Katherine, and I awaited the birth of baby John. When Jamie and I had Mary Katherine over three and a half years ago, I didn’t know my heart was capable of holding so much love.
On Thursday, December 22 at 5:18 p.m., I was surprised again by how much love my heart was capable of holding. John Bryars Alvey made room in my heart to love even more. And in reality, there was nothing that could prepare me for the moment when he was born. I was overjoyed with laughter and tears.
I also discovered that the love that filled my heart wasn’t exclusively reserved for John. Rather, the love that John made room in my heart for is a love that extends to all people. That love allows me to greet with joy every moment and every soul. Isn’t it amazing what love can make room for?!
Now, I fully realize that this feeling of love will fade. There will be times when I won’t be able to access this amazing feeling of joy. There will be times when I won’t allow my heart to see the world through the lens of love and compassion. And for this reason, I need Christmas.
I need to go again to Bethlehem to witness again the birth of the newborn king. I need to go again to Bethlehem and let the birth of our Savior make room in my heart for the great love of our Father in heaven. I need to go again to Bethlehem and let the youth and children and choir tell the story of Christmas (as opposed to me preaching!).
I need to go to Bethlehem to be reminded that I am not responsible for manufacturing the kind of love it takes to live a life full of joy and happiness. Only the great love of God shared in mysterious and unexpected ways, like in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago, can prepare room in my heart to love in the way that will not only get me through the changes and chances of this life but also make me see life as a gift not to be taken for granted.
In the end, nothing can compare to the birth of a child. No matter how bad things get in this often dark world, no matter how stressful things get in the hustle and bustle of this life, a baby quiets our hearts and makes room to experience life as God intends – a life filled with joy and love. And for this reason, God chose the birth of his only Son to announce the good news of salvation.
And the news gets better – even the hardest of hearts melt at the sight of the newborn king. O, come let us adore him and may our hearts be filled with a love that overflows!