“Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking;
if you hear my voice and open the door,
I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me.”
– Revelations 3:20
I hear you knocking, but you can’t come in
– From the song, I Hear You Knocking, song by Dave Edmunds, 1972
“While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”
– Luke 2:6-7
This famous painting is called “Christ at Heart’s Door” by the American artist, Warner Elias Sallman, who painted in 1942 based on Revelation 3:20, “if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me.” The image of Jesus standing outside of the door knocking is a spiritual metaphor. There is no doorknob from the outside. The doorknob is only in the inside that only you can open. Jesus will not bust the door open and force his way in like the SWAT Team going in for a gang drug bust. Instead, Jesus knocks at the door and says, “Can I please come in?” And he waits with ocean of patience for the door to be opened.
Something in the Universe wants to come into our lives.
we know not what,
is always and everywhere lovingly at work,
we know not how,
to make us more than we are now
to make the world more than it is yet.
This is the grace
that helps release the abundant love, wisdom, and healing
that are in us all and for which the world is waiting.
– David Richo, The Power of Grace: Recognizing Unexpected Gifts on Our Path
Jesus stands at each of our doorsteps, knocking, and wanting to come in and commune with each of us. Hold that image with you in this season of Advent. Ask yourself, “What is or what are my resistances to opening the door?” “What am I afraid of?”
Thomas Merton wrote a poem “No Room at the Inn” in the early 60s in protest of the Viet Nam War. It’s still apropos for our time.
No Room at the Inn
By Thomas Merton
No Room at the Inn
Into this world, this demented inn
in which there is absolutely no room for him at all,
Christ comes uninvited.
But because he cannot be at home in it,
because he is out of place in it,
and yet he must be in it,
His place is with the others for whom
there is no room.
His place is with those who do not belong,
who are rejected by power, because
they are regarded as weak,
those who are discredited,
who are denied status of persons,
who are tortured, bombed and exterminated.
With those for whom there is no room,
Christ is present in this world.
Our living God, in the weeks to come, our attention to this blessed and holy event, the birth of your Son, will be continually distracted with many things during this holiday. Help us to slow down to your unhurried rhythm of grace to savor the meaning and the joy of this Holy season. Help us to refocus our minds and hearts on your loving and most precious gift to us, the birthing of God, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.