Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis is the Proistamenos of St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL. Fr. contributes the Prayer Team Ministry, a daily reflection, which began in February 2015. The Prayer Team now has its own dedicated website! Fr. Stavros has produced two books, “Let All Creation Rejoice: Reflections on Advent, the Nativity and Epiphany”: “https://amzn.to/2t1rXwh and “The Road Back to Christ: Reflections on Lent, Holy Week and the Resurrection.” https://amzn.to/2WAcfG0
And she gave birth to her first born Son and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger because there was no place for them in the inn. Luke 2:7
Good morning Prayer Team!
In the Mexican culture, there is a Christmas-time tradition called Las Posadas. In this tradition, a couple dressed up as Mary and Joseph go from home to home, asking if there is any room at “the inn”. Each home takes on the role of an inn in Bethlehem. They are rebuffed each time until they reach the home that has been designated as “the inn,” at which point they are allowed in and a celebration ensues.
Imagine your heart as an inn—there are lots of rooms in it as there would be at an inn. At many inns, there are economy rooms, rooms with a view, rooms with a balcony, perhaps even a penthouse, or top floor room. Some rooms are more expensive and more lavish, others more simple.
The inn of your heart is similar. There are things in life, like relationships or family, that tug at our heart strings, and they often get the biggest rooms at the inn of our hearts. Careers get large rooms as well. Material possessions occupy space. So do our friends. Hobbies and things that bring us joy have a place, perhaps a smaller room, but there is still a place for them. Friday nights out with friends, Saturdays in front of the TV watching sports, the Sunday afternoon barbecue, they all find accommodations. Hopefully one’s heart is big enough that there is a room for charity. The question for today is which room does the Lord get in your heart? Is it the biggest one? Or the economy room? Is there a room for prayer? Worship? Charity? Are these rooms well-kept or in need of a remodel?
In the Nativity story, a woman who was about to deliver a child, and her betrothed, went from inn to inn, asking for lodging and help. There was no room in any inn. But even more poignant, there was no room in anyone’s heart to extend charity and help to a woman at her moment of delivery. How could a city so filled with people not have had even one room, even one bit of charity for someone in need? Never mind that this woman was not just anyone, but God’s chosen vessel for our salvation.
If your heart or your life is like an inn in Bethlehem, is there room in your inn for the Lord, or have all the spaces been filled with other things? In order to have Christ in your life, there needs to be not only room in “your inn,” but the committed Christian offers Christ the best room, the first portion, of your life. The committed Christian has a rooms for charity, for prayer, for scripture reading, for obedience to the commandments. As we journey through Advent and prepare to celebrate the Nativity, it is a good time to clean the rooms of your heart and of your life, to make sure there is room for Christ in them.
Because just as they do at Las Posadas in Mexico, Christ comes to knock on the door of your heart every day. Do we turn Him away, saying there is no room at the inn, that all the rooms have been filled with other “things”? Or do we welcome Him with joy? Do we give Him the economy room? Or do we give Him the biggest and the best? Spend some time today evaluating how you spend your time. And reflect seriously on which rooms Christ occupies in the inn of your heart. Just like they upgrade rooms at hotels for special guests, consider giving an upgrade in your heart to Christ, the most special guest of all.
Gladsome light of the holy glory of the holy, blessed, heavenly, immortal Father, O Jesus Christ: arriving at the hour of sunset and having seen the evening light, we praise the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, God. It is worthy for You to be praised at all times with happy voices, O Son of God and Giver of life; and therefore the world glorifies You. (Vespers Hymn)
Open the door to your inn for Christ today!
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The Orthodox Christian Network (OCN) is an official agency of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops. OCN offers videos, podcasts, blogs and music, to enhance Orthodox Christian life. The Prayer Team is a daily devotion written by Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis, the parish priest at St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, Florida. Devotions include a verse from scripture, a commentary from Fr. Stavros, and a short prayer that he writes to match the topic.
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