The season of Advent brings scripture readings of changes in the landscape, of the earth shifting so that valleys are filled and mountains are levelled and twisting roads are made straight. Further changes come among the creatures of the earth, with traditional animal enemies no longer threatening one another, being so tamed that even a child can be in their midst without being harmed.

The result of all such changes is a kind of harmony and peace throughout, with tensions removed and tangles smoothed. Advent invites us to consider our individual lives with an eye to a similar straightening and levelling, not only in our spirits but also in our relationships. To support this work, we hear the invitation to confess and reconcile.

The invitation makes sense as a practical consideration: given the heightened feelings of the approaching holidays and the likelihood of spending more time than usual with friends and family, to have cleared up hurts and misunderstandings in advance will make all those encounters easier, more satisfying.

But the invitation has a spiritual message to offer that builds on the clearing of relationship wounds, for confession and reconciliation make space in our lives and hearts for Jesus to born in ever greater fullness. Reconciliation empties out the rooms in us that have gotten filled with old stuff we no longer need to keep. Then when Jesus comes, we can open the door and say, “yes, come in, there is plenty of room for you here.”