Let Jesus be born in the stable of your heart
Updated: Dec 16, 2020
Christmas is right around the corner and for us Catholic Christians, it’s not quite time yet to go crazy with the tinsel like the rest of the world.
For us a very important season of preparation precedes Christmas, the season of Advent.
The root word of the word Advent is the Latin word advenio which means, "to come to," and refers to the coming of Christ.
In Advent we can enter into the mystery of Christ’s coming, not only in a manger over 2000 years ago or His coming on Judgement Day, but Christ also coming today in our hearts.
Are you ready for the coming of Christ into your heart?
I came across a beautiful quote by Mother Teresa of Calcutta on this very concept,
Are we ready to receive Him? Before the birth of Jesus, his parents asked for a simple dwelling place, but there was none. If Mary and Joseph were looking for a home for Jesus, would they choose … your heart, and all it holds?
Like many young women of today, I carry deep wounds and hurts.
I am also very aware of my sinful nature and the darkness in my heart. My inability to forgive others, my lack of compassion and mercy, my quickness to judge instead of love and the list goes on and on.
However looking at the stable in the Nativity, I can see it is much like my own heart.
It is not clean and spotless.
It is not a palace or a place fit for a King.
There is nothing attractive about it.
Realistically, the stable where Jesus was born was most likely smelly and had animal droppings in it.
Why would Christ, Our Lord and Saviour, truly and fully God who made all things, and in whom all things come to be, choose this place as His first dwelling?
Nothing in Jesus’ life was by chance, but all part of His divine plan.
There is something that God is trying to reveal to us in the simplicity and humility of His birth, a message He is trying to relay to us.
This message can be found at the heart of the Gospel.
As the Catechism of the Catholic Church article 458 states,
“The Word became flesh so that thus we might know God's love: "In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him."
God wants you to know how much He loves you by the example of His birth.
He chose his first dwelling place to be a stable instead of a palace to show you that He isn’t afraid of the poverty, messiness or the smelliness of your heart, and it is there He wants to dwell for all eternity.
It’s so easy to disqualify yourself from the love of God, when God is specifically choosing you, choosing your heart, as He chose the stable 2000 years ago, to be born and to be His dwelling.
Does this mean there is nothing for us to do on our part?
Most certainly not!
Christ will not come into your heart unless He is welcomed there, unless you open the door.
You have to prepare your heart to be a welcoming place for Christ.
Here are a few suggestions on how you can do this:
Go to confession
It is customary around Christmas time to clean our homes and decorate them in a special way.
Well confession is the vacuum cleaner of your soul.
Confession can help you get rid of all the unnecessary clutter in your heart, so that when you open the door for Christ, He actually has room to dwell.
Remember that one of the reasons that Christ had to be born in the stable is because there was no room for Him in the inn.
Confession ensures our hearts are not the inns in the Christmas story, but the poor humble stable ready to welcome the Saviour of the World.
The Blessed Mother
There is no greater person than the Blessed Mother, to help you prepare for the coming of Christ into your heart.
She who is His first dwelling place, the first tabernacle, wants to help all Christians prepare for the birth of Christ.
If you let her into your heart in a special way, she will overflow your heart with the graces needed for Christ's coming and she will without fail give birth to Christ in you.
This Advent you can develop a deeper relationship with Mary by doing a consecration to her Immaculate heart, by praying the rosary everyday or by delving into the scripture passages about her.
Prayer and Sacrifice
Sometimes we get so distracted by the rest of the world already celebrating Christmas by putting up decorations, attending parties or get-togethers and not to mention the Hallmark Christmas movies, that we forget Advent is a penitential season.
Whitney Hetzel speaks about Advent being a little Lent in an article written in the Catholic Company,
“The Mass itself assumes a more somber tone during Advent. The priests wear violet vestments, as they do during Lent, since purple is the liturgical color that signifies an attitude of repentance and sorrow for sin.”
The Church does this, to remind us that the preparation for Christmas should involve a special commitment to prayer and sacrifice.
We should be looking for creative ways to develop our prayer life in this time with special time meditating on the mystery of the Incarnation of Christ.
We should also be serious about sacrifices and finding ways to mortify our senses, particularly through fasting and alms giving or charity.
There is no better way to prepare for the coming of Jesus this Advent, than to receive Holy Communion.
Every time we receive Jesus in the Eucharist He already comes into our hearts in a profound and real way.
As Fr Javier Igea says in this article on the Sacrament of the Eucharist,
"What is Communion? Communion is Jesus coming to you. Communion is Jesus entering into your heart. The heart is the inner part of the person, your heart is your intimacy, and communion is receiving the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, but letting Him enter into communion with you: from heart to heart, the union of the heart of Jesus with your heart."
However you prepare, you must remember this:
Your efforts of preparation must be met with firm confidence that your imperfections do not discourage God from coming into your heart but motivates Him all the more.
As Fr Mike Schmitz said in a video on God's love,
“God does not need you to be perfect, He just wants you to be His.”
My prayer for you this Advent is that without fear of rejection, without looking at your imperfections, without focusing on your shortcomings, you will prepare for Jesus to be born in the stable of your heart.
If you do this I assure you your experience this Christmas will be like no other!