Yesterday at mass we heard one of the infancy narratives, the one from Matthew (at Tuesday daily mass – right now it’s Wednesday night!). We’re getting closer and closer to end of the Advent season and the start of Christmas, so we’re starting to hear more about Christ’s birth.
On Christmas (well, at the Midnight Mass), we’ll hear a different infancy narrative, the one from Luke. From Luke we’ll hear the familiar words:
“She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn (Luke 2:7)”
We’ve all seen the little reenactments of kiddos dressed up as Mary and Joseph knocking at inn after inn, only to be turned away because there is “no room.” This phrase came to my mind a week or so ago while I was driving around in traffic – I can’t remember if I let someone in, or if they let me in – but this thought came to mind – how good it is to “make room” for others in the world. How good it is to make room for others; how good it is when others make room for you. It’s one of those proverbial “little things” that makes the world a better place. But I’m totally serious – no sentimentality here – it really does bring goodness into the world.
When we stop and consider others, when we take a moment to recognize their humanity (no those aren’t just steel boxes zooming around and getting in your way – there are human being inside those cars!), then the dynamic shifts, empathy kicks in, and the world gets a little more humane, and a little more holy.
I’m as guilty as the next person of giving in to the temptation of road rage – just this morning I was inwardly fuming because multiple people (seriously, like 4!) were driving 5-10 mph below the speed limit between Austin and San Antonio – and just on those spots where you can’t pass people too! I found myself getting frustrated and feeling stressed about making it to work on time – so I did what I always do when I can feel my stress/frustration rising – I took some deep breaths and said a few Hail Mary’s. Works almost every time (to re-center myself, not make the car in front of me speed up, haha!)
So that’s my simple reflection today, and my Advent challenge. Today, make room for others in the world. Make room for goodness to be born into the world through you – make room for the infant Christ.
Here’s a couple ways I thought of to make room for others – please post your own, too! Let us know how it goes – post a comment and share!
It’s the little things that make a difference – but seriously.
- let someone into traffic ahead of you
- let someone else go down the grocery aisle first – don’t push past people with your cart or cut them off
- hold the door for someone
- refrain from tailgating
- ask someone how they are doing and then listen to what they reply (EXTRA challenge: Take it a step further and listen to how often you relate things back to yourself in conversation, instead of just taking in what the other is saying! Ex: “Oh your boss was rude to you today? Well let me tell you what my boss did last week…”