Judah pulled out a Star Wars jigsaw puzzle as I read his literature selection from Parables from Nature. I do not mind him keeping his eyes and hands busy during read-aloud because he is an auditory learner and listens best when his other faculties are occupied. Seraphina, following her brother’s example, reached for another puzzle from the shelf and immediately begged for help. So, there I was, reading aloud, toddler on lap, assembling a puzzle of construction equipment.
I forgot how much I enjoy jigsaw puzzles. Jason even asked me a few weeks ago while Christmas shopping why I never do puzzles anymore. They have always been one of my de-stressors, like baking and hiking. These are my ways to wind down and reset my mind.
I don’t do puzzles because I have three small children. I have no time, much less space that is untouched by six grubby hands.
There is a big, wooden desk downstairs we use for school. It is a catch-all for everything else, it seems: coloring books, bills, random hardware, books, binders, toys. I rarely see the wood of that desk. Today, I thought, if I just put some of these things away; if I just deal with the clutter, I can make room for a puzzle. I began to clear and stack and re-organize. I found a box of beautiful puzzles my mom gave me years ago, largely unopened.
(I realize I am revealing my nerdy old-lady-ness hardcore here. We will call it “being vulnerable.”)
The joy I felt at the prospect of making room for something I love was surprising.
Sometimes we forget how much relief there is in uncluttering our lives;
Advent is about making room. When Mary and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem, there was no room for them. No one could make room for this young man and his heavily pregnant bride. The story reminds us all to check our lives for room for Jesus.
Modern life is the definition of distraction. It is clutter personified. Busyness is a virtue and occupation is how we identify ourselves.
My heart looks like my desk – a functioning space, to be sure, but also a catch-all for every wayward, unresolved issue of life. I do not realize when I have run out of room for the things I love, that give me peace.
My prayer for this Advent is that we can all make room for the thing we love, our first love. I do not mean our hobbies or our relationships or our religion. I mean the Lover of our souls. I mean the Wonderful Counselor. The Prince of Peace.
I like to tell my children that we have time for what we make time for. We have space for what we make space for. Help us all to choose to make room.