If Only My House Looked Like That!

I clicked the link to visit my neighbor at a recent blog party and felt as if I’d entered an alternate universe. The blogger had thrown up some photos of her house and the decorations she had lovingly arranged for the Christmas season. This gal LOVES Christmas decorations. Each of her nine Christmas trees (yep—you read that correctly) would make Martha Stewart weep with joy (or envy).


I did a mental inventory of my Christmas decorations. They haven’t left the confines of the two boxes in our basement storage room. I glance at a calendar. Sure enough, the second week of Advent approaches. The red candle on my desk that I forgot to put away last Christmas hasn’t moved for a year.

Maybe I should light it, even though it has gathered enough Arizona dust to constitute a fire hazard. It looked a little lonely, so I use a sugar packet to prop up one side of my green, pine-scented candle. I feel accomplished now. Even if the burning dust smells a little un-Christmas-y. Jesus understands.

To all the busy people out there, I give you permission to forego the decorations. After all, Mary and Joseph didn’t spend the month before Jesus’ birth decorating a nursery. They had travel plans (as do I). They lived in a country under siege by Roman legions. We live in a country under siege by satan’s legions. Joseph had a good job, but he didn’t live in a palace. I have so much more than 80 percent of the people in the world have—but I certainly don’t have room for nine Christmas trees in my house.

To all the #busy people out there, I give you permission to forego the #Christmas decorations. #advent Click To Tweet

Only Questions

As they prepared for the Advent of the Savior, Mary and Joseph didn’t waste time asking questions about how much to spend on gifts. They had more pressing matters on their minds. Could their marriage survive the shock of an out-of-wedlock-pregnancy? Would the babe come before or after meeting the census agent? How exactly does one answer the census question concerning the soon-to-arrive baby’s paternity? Would they have enough money to make it to Bethlehem? Where would they stay when they arrived?

How exactly does one answer the Roman agent's census question concerning the paternity of baby Jesus? #Christmas #Advent Click To Tweet

Don’t fret if you haven’t decorated your home, your office, or your yard. And if you haven’t baked a gazillion Christmas cookies yet, no one will get hurt. Instead ask yourself questions. Have I made room for Jesus in my life? Jesus doesn’t care about the decorations, the cookies, the lights, or the trees. He only cares about my heart.

Sure, the lights and bows and pretty packages all help to dispel the darkness of short days, cold nights, and the change of the seasons. But letting the Light shine through us seems more important than wrapping lights around the trees. Decorate yourself from the inside out.

Forget Black Friday and Cyber Monday and focus instead on the gifts that really matter: Forgiveness. Acceptance. Hope.

Forget Black Friday and Cyber Monday and focus instead on the only gifts that matter: Forgiveness. Acceptance. Hope #advent Click To Tweet

Bring your humble gifts of broken dreams, hope delayed, and shattered expectations to the one who wants to heal you—He promises to dispel the darkness.

If you have time to decorate like Martha, thank you for sharing your creativity and beauty with the rest of us. But if you don’t have time or energy for Christmas decorations, don’t beat yourself up. Make room for the Savior in your life and celebrate in your heart. That’s all he asks.

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