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.
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?