V is for Visitor
A recent attempt to tidy up our living room reminded us of how much space is taken up by a full-sized guest bed we keep in a corner nook. Most of the year, it functions as a daybed where the kids can chill (or where Dad can take a nap after supper). but every Christmas it earns its place by giving Liza’s brother and sister-in-law a cozy sleeping spot when they come for their annual Christmas visit. It’s kind of like the grandparents’ beds in Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, right in the middle of the action. It’s not perfect for the guest who wishes to have privacy, or who prefers not to be awakened by excited kids at 6:00 in the morning. But it has its advantages, such as being able to stay in bed all day and celebrate Christmas at the same time.
No one has slept in our guest bed since last Christmas. If the bed were alive, it would be getting quite excited right about now, knowing that this week is its time to shine, thinking that any day now we’ll be dressing it in clean sheets and fluffing its pillows. But not this year. I’m glad I don’t have to explain this to the bed, because it’s hard enough just to think about it: Christmas with no visitors. It doesn’t feel right. It’s like living in a bare crèche. No shepherds, no wise men, no aunts or uncles – not even a cousin Eddie, which in any other year would be a relief, but this year brings a certain amount of grief.
These feelings are very real, and it’s perfectly alright to feel bummed out about a visitor-less Christmas. But we shouldn’t forget about the Visitor who is sure to come this Christmas, Covid or no. And I’m not talking about Santa Claus. The Visitor I have in mind has no need of our milk and cookies – or our guest beds – but only asks for room in our hearts. The question of this season is not whether our guest beds will be empty, but whether our hearts will be full. We have only to leave the light on, and the door unlocked, and He will come to make us new.