Do you know you have a door in your heart? An entryway that can admit or shut up? It’s not a visible aperture but a metaphorical truth we can relate to. Because we all get to decide what we let into our heart and mind, what we’re willing to allow or want to refuse admittance to.
Many of us struggle with guarding our hearts, while others have built a huge, defensive wall around them to protect from hurt and pain. I did the latter for years and kept the door of my heart closed tight to others.
Once my life was full of shame and pain and fear. I closed my heart in response to it all and it hardened like a defensive shield and carapace. Creepers grew over the door of my heart. Although I didn’t know it at first.
I lived in ignorance of my instinctive behaviour. Maybe you’ve felt like that? Finally, my eyes opened to acknowledge the wall I had erected around my heart. And I became willing to change how I normally responded.
God has been gradually tearing down the wall, brick by brick, with my cooperation, as I’ve surrendered and opened it wider for Holy Spirit to work within. Although guarding our hearts against poisonous emotions and attitudes is wise, it shouldn’t mean resisting the call of Christ on our lives.
One of my favourite aspects of Advent is how God invites us to look for His light and respond personally to the nearness of Christ. Most importantly, the Door to Life in all its fullness is marvellously revealed to us by faith.
“In Advent, God does not first confront us with our sin; instead, we are invited to prepare to make God welcome; we are invited to take the initiative, to find our best selves, to be willing to open the door to the baby in need.” – The Art of Advent: A Painting a Day from Advent to Epiphany by Dr Jane Williams
Light of the World
at break of dawn,
at the door of my heart,
coming forth as regal-cloaked stranger
carrying a lamp.
Although your own
eclipses all earthly light
we see, here it’s enclosed, within your
soul and fastened deep.
You wear a crown
of thorns, like a convict,
not a king, who lives in heavenly realms,
where you are revered, and where
angelic voices sound.
The door is shut,
covered in creepers, held fast
by ancient fears,
no sign of lock or chink by which
light can exit or enter in.
Still you knock,
with gentle firmness,
by how long it might take for me
to grant you entry.
I might resist
for days, moments, years,
and yet you stay,
such is your longing to dispense
forgiveness and grace.
You also know
how hard Holy Spirit is already
working in my heart
and how it’s worth the lengthy wait
while I prevaricate.
This poem is based on The Light of the World painting by William Holman Hunt.
“Listen! I am standing and knocking at your door. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in and we will eat together.” – Revelation 3:20 CEV
Jesus is the Door
In addition, though I’ve been speaking about opening the door of our hearts to God, there is actually a two-way activity going on.
Because Christ Himself is the Light of Life and the Door whereby we enter in to begin a close relationship with God. And it’s a door that stands permanently open to us. We’re always able to access His presence.
“Ask, and you will receive; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks will receive, and anyone who seeks will find, and the door will be opened to those who knock.” – Matthew 7:7-8 GNT