Decorating our homes for Christmas each year often brings a palpable sense of joy as we anticipate the coming of our King. But it is equally important that we prepare our hearts for the season ahead and allow the truth of God’s Word to shine just as brightly as the lights on our tree. In this article, Vanessa Hunt shares a few simple ways to adorn both your home and your heart this Christmas that will help you stay focused on the true meaning of this sacred season.
When my daughter was a toddler, she desperately wanted to help me decorate the Christmas tree. If you’ve had a toddler in your home for more than five minutes, you know how interesting this can get. I managed to push away my anxiety at having all of my favorite ornaments broken. I reminded myself that she would, most likely, only be able to reach the bottom branches on the tree. Plus, bedtime would come soon enough so I could ‘rearrange’ things a bit.
As I dug through the plastic ornament bin, I spotted the garlands of plastic gold beads and knew I’d hit pay dirt. There wasn’t much damage she could do to those. And they would definitely keep her occupied long enough for me to smuggle the heirloom pieces out of the room.
Her eyes lit up when she saw those gold beads begin to unfurl from their storage bags strand after strand. “Oh mama,” she said, “I wuv deese beads!” I watched as she stood up and began to wrap the strands around herself. She then walked all around the house dragging them behind her like the train of a dress. It filled her little 3-year-old heart with joy to adorn herself with those gold plastic beads. And it reminded me of how much joy it gives me to adorn my home for the Christmas season.
It’s not enough to simply adorn our homes, however. We must also adorn our hearts with the truth of God’s Word and let it shine as brightly as the star on the top of the Christmas tree. Here are a few simple ways to adorn your home and your heart that will help you to stay focused on the true meaning of this sacred season.
Adorn Your Home
Pinterest is filled with inspiration for decorating your tree. But it can often leave you feeling as though you must have a brand new look each year. Personally, I believe that the prettiest Christmas trees seamlessly combine the old with the new. After all, you have to hang up those popsicle stick ornaments your children made in kindergarten, right? If you do want to give your tree a fresh look, perhaps try out a new color of ribbon. Or pick up some inexpensive, oversized ornaments that will make a dramatic impact. And, don’t forget that one of the easiest ways to add some oomph is to simply string more strands of lights on your tree.
Adorn Your Heart
Speaking of lights, did you know that it is widely thought that Martin Luther, the Protestant reformer, was the first to add lighted candles to a Christmas tree? One evening, he spotted the twinkling stars through evergreen trees in the forest near his home. He was inspired to replicate that scene indoors. Consider setting aside at least one night this season to gather your family around the Christmas tree with all the other lights turned off in the room. Marvel at the beauty. Reflect together that just as “He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name” (Psalm 147:4, NIV), He intimately knows and loves each of us.
Adorn Your Home
Whether it’s lush garland draped along the top of the mantel or simply hanging stockings in anticipation of the big day, a fireplace remains one of the main focal points of holiday decorating. And it harkens back to a time when it was the lifeblood of a home.
Beyond the necessity of keeping a fire going for heating and cooking, it also serves as a reminder of what it means to have our basic needs met. Decorating a mantel can feel intimidating. But, focus on having items of varying heights along with different textures and some sparkle by way of candles or twinkle lights. That way you can very simply capture the beauty of the season. This year, consider giving a nod to nature by mixing in sprigs of berries (real or faux). And don’t forget that you can easily freshen up a faux garland by tucking in a few real branches of greenery.
Adorn Your Heart
As you decorate, give thanks to the Lord for all of the ways that He meets your needs. Take the time to sit down, either on your own or with your family. Make a list of specific instances where God has provided for you in the past. And, whether you use your fireplace for physically heating your home or have it merely decorative, let it serve as a tangible reminder of the words in Philippians 4:19. “My God will meet all of your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus” (NIV).
Adorn Your Home
Celebrating Advent is a significant tradition in our home. But for many years I struggled with determining the best location to place the candle arrangement. But then, one year, I realized that the answer was staring me right in the face. We gather around our dining table every night for dinner. Why not incorporate the Advent candles into the centerpiece?
Every Sunday evening in December, we remove the remnants of our meal from the table. Then we sit back down for a simple Advent reading before our kids take turns lighting the candle for that week.
This doesn’t have to be an elaborate centerpiece. Start with a small tray and place the candles on top in a grouping. You can even give each candle a numbered tag to help with the countdown. Tuck in sprigs of greenery. (I’m especially partial to the faux juniper branches with berries that are popular at craft stores). And use either tapered candles in holders or more chunky candles that are stable on their own. Remember that the purpose is to focus on celebrating the ‘advent’ (which literally means arrival) of Jesus. So don’t place too much emphasis on the decorating.
Adorn Your Heart
One of the most significant ways I’ve found to celebrate Advent is to connect the dots between the Old Testament prophecies about the coming of Christ and the New Testament fulfillment of those prophecies. This serves as an incredible reminder of God’s sovereign plan for humanity. And, if you have children in your home, it is a great way to build on the foundation of faith you are laying for them. My favorite verse to reflect upon during Advent is Isaiah 9:6. “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
This Christmas season, may the adorning of our homes be an extension of the adorning of our hearts with the love of the One who first loved us. And, as you beautify the spaces around you, remember that the most beautiful things are those which strengthen our faith and create memories to be cherished for a lifetime.
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