Grandma would come and visit every couple of years or so when I was a kid. . . . One day we all packed in the car and drove to the small regional airport and watched Grandma climb out of the plane onto the tarmac. There she was in with red hair sticking out of her pale green and flowered head scarf and wearing the same overcoat she always wore for travel. She looked rather grandmotherish and sported an assortment of freckles from head-to-toe. (I must admit, I was always a bit nervous seeing her walk down the tarmac, because I was sure she would pinch my cheeks the hardest.)
I don’t know how, but we always made room in our three-bedroom house for Grandma to stay one full month. My guess is that all four of us boys shared one room — probably all crammed into one bed. (I was the youngest so I’m sure I was “coaxed” to the floor so the other three wouldn’t have to experience three a.m. pajama dampness caused by my bed-wetting.) Even so, sharing one room was well worth the sacrifice because once we got passed the pinching of our cheeks and Grandma unpacked her suitcase full of medicine on what used to be my bed, she baked cookies and pastries non-stop for the next thirty days.
The visits sort of caught me by surprise, as I recall. I can’t think of any discussion or preparation ahead of time . . . although I’m sure there was some on my parents’ part. I don’t remember seeing Grandma’s itinerary on the family calendar, but it seemed she left almost as quickly as she came. And there was always a quiet sadness inside me as I saw her wave “goodbye” from the plane window.
I don’t know much about Advent, but what I’ve read reminds me a bit of my Grandmother’s visits. You see, Advent is all about preparation. It’s about making room. It’s about my willingness to give up the stuff (my past hurt, my sin, my preoccupation with self) that isn’t important so I can welcome the love of Christ. As I think about the upcoming Christmas holiday, I want to daily prepare my heart. I also want to make room for Jesus — not just a little room for a temporary season — but the room of my entire life. And when Jesus (not the baby Jesus, but the adult Son of God who died for my sins) takes residence, it is well-worth the inconvenience. If I prepare for Christ prior to Christmas, I think I’ll be less empty when the season has left. Advent reminds me that the joy is in the preparation. The joy is in the making room.
Calvin G. Roso © December 2013