“And Mary stayed with her about three months, and then returned to her home.”~ Luke 1:56
I’ll never forget my disappointment when my mom said, “Daira, you can’t keep inviting the mailman in for snacks!” I was only six, and I couldn’t imagine the reason behind my mom’s comment. The mailman came every day to our house, and I felt it was polite to invite him in for cookies! After all, we had plenty of room to host him.
Hosting has always been one of my favorite activities. The more people and parties, the better! However, as I’ve gotten older, making room for people and hosting, especially around the holidays, can present many challenges. While my heart still longs for people to gather, the preparation to clean the house, cook the food, and invite all the guests has lost some of the innocence I had as a child.
There is a Bible story I love about a woman who focused on making room. She was the ultimate host! While Mary is usually the leading lady around Christmas (for a good reason), her cousin, Elizabeth, also plays an essential role in ushering in God’s presence. Imagine how Elizabeth felt after decades of waiting for a child when her prayers got answered. She must have been excited as she made room in her heart and home for her promised baby’s arrival. But another house guest was coming, and Elizabeth did not hesitate to make more room. Her warm greeting instantly strengthened Mary’s faith, and Elizabeth received the blessing of sharing in the joy of what was to come. I wonder if she knew she was the first to make room for the King of Kings.
Luke 1:56 says, “Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.” I wish the story had given more details about what transpired in those three months. Maybe their conversations included their dreams for their sons and their many preparations to be first-time mothers. While we can only speculate on this, we know that Mary felt comfortable staying three months with her cousin. I love how encouragement, hospitality, and a support system fostered God’s plans for their lives. Elizabeth’s son, John the Baptist, would someday pave the way for Jesus. The joy of creating space to make room for God’s actions is evident throughout this story, even from the beginning.
How does this apply to us? As we rearrange our furniture to make room for the Christmas tree and adjust our schedules for last-minute parties, how are we intentional with those around us? Are we hosting those God brings to us? Are we making room for people and allowing God to move through this act?
The best welcome is always an open door. I wonder if Elizabeth could have known that there would be no warm welcome in less than nine months as she held the door open for Mary.
As we are hosts this Christmas season, here is an easy way to remember to make room. I love acronyms, so I have created one for the word “room” to remind us that we can make room for God’s actions throughout this season.
“R” stands for a response. Are we responding to God in all things? We see how Elizabeth responded to God through her faith in being the mother of John and her willingness to encourage Mary.
“O” stands for others. Are we allowing the busy season to hinder us from seeing the people around us? God’s heart is always for people, so we should also keep them at the center of our hearts.
“O” also stands for obedience. In this story, we see two obedient women. As we know what God is doing, are we willing to obediently follow?
“M” stands for more. God has so much more for us when we open the door to hospitality. Ask God to show you who He is, more of His presence, and how you can serve others.
Let’s make more room! We can throw parties and open presents, but what is the main reason we celebrate? We are blessed this year, and every year, to experience God’s presence and to share His love. Let’s not keep it a secret but open our doors to spread the Good News.
Questions for Thought
- Think of someone who God has put on your heart. This person may be a family member, friend, or co-worker. How can you make room for them this season
- Pray that God gives you the heart to host others throughout this busy season. How has God gifted you to host others? What will be some of the challenges? What will be some of the victories?
Practice making using the acronym “room.” How can you respond to what God is calling you to do? How can you be intentional with others? How can you be obedient to following God daily? How can you experience more?
Girl's Ministry Associate
Daira Avery Traynor, well known for her abundant joy, is the Girl’s Minister at First Baptist Dallas. She is passionate about helping the next generation of seventh through twelfth-grade girls discover their true identity in Christ. Daira graduated from Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, receiving a degree in Commercial Music. Daira is a proud Texan who resides with her amazingly funny husband, Sean Traynor, and their dog, Boots.