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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  1. I love every bit of this post, Anita! when it gets down to December 25, the real focal point of Christmas has to be the babe born in Bethlehem and the abundant life He brings.
    Visiting you from #30 in fmf.

  2. Anita, I can tell this is near and dear to your heart. You always write with conviction and freedom. Well said. Does this mean I don’t have to clean my house for Christmas?

  3. feeling a bit dusty myself, thanks for this! might just haul the half empty boxes back upstairs and light a candle. i might even let the children do all the baking while i read about real Christmas.

  4. Great post, Anita! Decorating can be fun but I can’t imagine having the space for 9 Christmas trees or the time to decorate them! It’s good to enjoy these things but important that they don’t distract us from what it’s all really about. As you say, the reality of Christmas was very different for Mary and Joseph.
    Lesley recently posted…A Trio Of Book ReviewsMy Profile

  5. Wow—wouldn’t we all love to receive these gifts??? “Forgiveness. Acceptance. Hope.” Definitely. And to give them? I’ll keep working on that. What a great post, Anita. I’ll share too. I barely got one tree put up this year, and absolutely no gifts under it yet. Will work on that next week. 🙂
    Lisa notes recently posted…Top 10 Books of 2017My Profile

    1. I’ve purchased gifts for out of town people, but our ‘gift’ this year will be experiencing Christmas with our grandson in Alaska (not sure what to think about those 4 hour days yet!). I also want to remember to give the gift of acceptance, forgiveness, and hope. Even to people who annoy me ;).
      Anita recently posted…The Only Decorations You Need This ChristmasMy Profile

  6. Yes, yes, yes! No guilt over foregoing the Christmas decorations. I love to decorate for Christmas. I love pulling out each ornament from year’s past and reminiscing over family memories, but this year we are packing up all our belongings as we get ready to move. People keep asking if I’m sad that I can’t decorate but, as I said to a friend last night, I’m actually enjoying the lack of adornment in my home. Maybe I’ll see Jesus more clearly this year. Happy Advent.
    Patricia Krank recently posted…Woodland Christmas in the Den & a Special Treat too!My Profile

  7. Anita, what a lovely, refreshing post! I love the emphasis to make room for Jesus and let Him change my heart so that I can give the gifts of love and hope and joy to others.

    Blessings to you! xo

  8. Fully agree with you and feel sad about all the time and effort and money spent on really fancy, co-ordinated room decor when simple is better and gives our minds more time to think on the better things.

  9. This is the perfect call to be imperfect. I will admit this is the first Christmas in about four years that I have even felt like decorating. When you lose both of your parents and your sons get married, you wonder who you are decorating for.

    This sums it up beautifully —–>Make room for the Savior in your life and celebrate in your heart. That’s all he asks.
    Mary Geisen recently posted…In the StillnessMy Profile

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Anita Ojeda

Anita Ojeda juggles writing with teaching high school English and history. When she's not lurking in odd places looking for rare birds, you can find her camping with her kids, adventuring with her husband or mountain biking with her students.

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