With Christmas just a week away, many of us are running around wrapping gifts (or let’s be honest, still buying gifts), baking cookies, planning Christmas dinner and just trying our best to keep the housework from swallowing us up whole so we can appear to have our act together for when our guests arrive (or just to keep our own sanity!). Even when we give ourselves permission to not send Christmas cards or cut out a tradition or two, it’s still a busier season around the home, and it is just hard to juggle it all!

Pictures of perfectly decorated Christmas houses without a mess in sight fly through our Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest newsfeed, tempting us to look around our own home and wonder where we went wrong. With Christmas just days away now, any dreams of a perfectly tidy and decorated house on Christmas morning are vanishing quickly.

Jack and Lily The Inspired Room

At my house, we had a decorated tree until the dogs have removed all the decorations from the lower branches as they always do this time of year.  It’s a tradition, I guess you could say. We are knee deep in painting projects so our furniture is shoved every which way and moving boxes still fill several rooms.

Our house is far from picture perfect and I’m a home decor blogger!

Let me assure you, pretty pictures can be inspiring, but they don’t tell the entire story. Our dryer has been broken almost the entire time we’ve lived here, nearly three months (!), which means our clothes are hanging out to dry on every available surface in the house. (Nothing like seeing your unmentionables dangling by the nativity scene to inspire you, right? I’ll spare you the photo because you won’t be able to get it out of your mind.)


Ironically, though, isn’t a bit of unfortunate chaos mixed with joy just how life feels so much of the time?

No matter how cozy we make our home, or how much we might have dreamed about (or even prepared for!) the perfect Pinterest version of a family Christmas, we all have those unmentionables and baggage hiding around the corner that make our own Christmas not look quite as idyllic as we imagine it should.

The good news is we all know Jesus was born in a manger, and I’m pretty sure there were unmentionables all around His stable, too. And what a glorious Christmas that was!


That’s the picture we should pin to the top of our Pinterest board this Christmas if we truly want to be inspired with what matters.

We are all probably familiar with the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42, but I love to read it over and over this time of year and let the message really sink in. How easily we can forget what is better!

“As Jesus and His disciples were on their way, He came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to Him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what He said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to Him and asked, ‘Lord, don’t You care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!’

‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed — or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.'”

Bless Martha’s heart. I know just how she felt. She meant well, I know she did. Acts of service and hospitality were probably her love language, and she just wanted some help pulling it all together so it would be nice for Jesus. But I’m so grateful for this simple illustration because it always helps me refocus my attention.

We can breathe a sigh of relief that while there is wisdom in being prepared, and a time and a place for decorating, tidying and cooking a good meal, there’s a time and place to set it all aside for what is better.

Thank You, Lord, that You sent Your beloved Son to be born in a humble manger instead of a perfect palace. Thank You for this timely reminder to us all to set aside all those things we are concerned about, to stop fretting over our preparations and our Pinterest version of holiday expectations, so we can focus on the one thing that really matters. 

Can I get an AMEN?

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While there is wisdom in being prepared, there’s a time and place to set it all aside for what is better. {Tweet this!}

  • Lynn D. Morrissey

    I appreciate your post and even the picture of those unmentionables I’m imagining in my mind’s eye. I’m glad you didn’t mention them! :-) I have over thirty women descending upon our less-than-perfect house in just five hours (and I haven’t practiced my talk or solo enough or shoved all my books and papers into closets–but I won’t mention that! Ahem….) But what I will mention is my appreciation of your emphasis to forget perfection and to look to the One who *is* perfect and powerful, and to ask for *His* strength to share the true meaning of Christmas today with women who love Him and with some, perhaps, who are seeking to. I am praying, asking Him for His grace to mention Him joyously in Scripture, in song, in laughter and food shared, and in joy multiplied. I am asking to let go the “unmentionables”–that bitter baggage that seeks to divide mankind–like hatred, arguments, racism, and judgmentalism, and to rejoice in the Child who came to save us from every unmentionable sin. God bless you, Miss Melissa, for a wonderful post and timely reminder. I hope that you have a blessed Christmas!
    Fondly and gratefully,

    • Melissa Michaels

      I’m sure the women are being blessed, praying for your group right now! Thank you for sharing and opening your heart and home.

      • Lynn D. Morrissey

        That is so sweet of you, Melissa. THank you! It really was such a blessed day (some women left at 9:00 PM!!! from the luncheon). I believe that the Lord was glorified!

  • Bev @ Walking Well With God

    Yes, may we look beyond the bright lights and the tinsel to see a rough hewn feeding trough made of wood. The same timbers that would hold Jesus as He suffered and died for our sins. Lord help me not to get so caught up in the pretty that I miss the magnificent. Blessings to you this Christmas!

    • Melissa Michaels

      Merry Christmas, Bev!

  • Kristine Brown MTY

    I’m giving you my biggest AMEN ever, Melissa!

  • Beth Williams

    I loved this post! Thank you for pushing us past the Pinterest of “perfection” and pointing us toward the lowly birth of our Savior!! I’m tired of perfection and twinkling lights! I want a simple Christmas – like the First one. Just family, friends, Jesus and the lone star in the sky!
    Blessings :)

    • Melissa Michaels

      Amen, Beth! Merry Christmas to you!

  • Veronica

    Amen, Melissa. Wishing you and your family a “Mary” Christmas. :)

    • Melissa Michaels

      Thank you, Veronica! Wishing you a Mary :) Christmas, too!

  • Nancy Ruegg

    Perhaps a perfect Christmas isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Wouldn’t everyone feel uncomfortably on guard, lest they mess it up? And what fun stories would we have to tell in the years to come, were it not for the disastrous cookies or the tree falling over or the forgotten present found two weeks after Christmas? You are so right, Melissa: we can and must set aside the Norman-Rockwell expectations and embrace something better: expressing our love to Jesus in word and song and JOY–with those he’s given us to love here on earth.

  • Diane | AnExtraordinaryDay

    Amen! Thanks for sharing your heart Melissa.
    Merry Christmas! xo

  • Patty

    Oh yes the biggest Amen I can give. What a wonderful inspiring post and it came just at the perfect time thank you for that. We could all learn from the story of Mary and Martha, It is so important to all of us that everything be so perfect that before we know it the Christmas is gone and we didn’t get to enjoy it. I learned years ago that no matter how hard I try it is never perfect I’m not perfect and that is ok now I can relax and enjoy the holidays with friends and family.
    I always smile when I see pictures of your furbaby’s, my best friend in the whole world has two Goldendoodles, and every time I talk to her she has new story’s of their funny antics, I think they are forever pups and have the best dispositions for little ones.
    Your home looks so warm and inviting, and your Christmas decor is beautiful.
    Merry Christmas to you and your wonderful family.