Our first home together as a couple had open-plan stairs: with no banisters, and no boxed-off space underneath. The estate agent who showed us around clearly saw it as a barrier to be overcome in selling the property, but we loved it: it added real character to the room. We positioned our bookshelves and my favourite armchair under the stairs, and the space became a mini-den while still being part of the living space. And many was the time when we had up to twenty young adults piled into the room, including sat all the way up the stairs, eating cake and sharing the stories of our lives.
Our current house has two cupboards under the stairs. One is small and for the most part inaccessible, and in it we keep most of the gear we use when we go camping. The other is a closet in which we keep those things we want to hand, but not under-foot (though they are, I suppose, under foot whenever we climb the stairs) – the vacuum cleaner, the ironing board, the tool box, the sewing box, some art and craft material, gift-wrap, a selection of small presents appropriate for when our children are invited to classmates birthday parties.
How might we make space for Jesus under the stairs in Advent?
God has made each one of us with unique personality, unique gifts. Perhaps you have been told that who you are is more of a liability than a positive feature: perhaps Advent needs to be a season to make space to hear, or hear again, God’s perspective.
Why not use Advent as an opportunity to ‘get out’ and ‘dust down’ gifts that you have been given, but which you haven’t used or exercised for a while?
Why not use Advent as an opportunity to ‘sort through’ gifts that you use on a regular basis:
by doing a spiritual health-check, including asking God what things he wants you to focus on, what things he wants you to teach someone else to do, and what things he wants you to lay down for someone else to take up;
or by investing in a particular gift by engaging with a training event (even if this means planning/booking on to an event in the new year) or relevant material in book/audio/video format?
Advent: making room for Jesus – under the stairs.