How Not to Prepare a Home—101



It was a year marked by significant changes . . . and an uncertain future.


Normal was a foreign concept.


But I was overly determined to keep things normal—to a fault. Especially when it came to Christmas.


I tackled the monstrous job of decorating the home on my own (in a less-than admirable attitude).


I bullishly wrestled bulging boxes. And launched the ladder to deck the roofline with lights (in absolute fear and stubborn pride). I wore myself out, concerned with outward appearances.


But, as I assembled the tree, the stand failed to stand at all. I huffed . . . and I puffed . . . till I practically blew the house down trying to fix it.


I couldn’t afford to buy a new tree, and we certainly weren’t going to do without, so I tried to engineer a solution. And, because I felt everything else in life was miserably broken, a broken tree was entirely unacceptable!


I first tried to duct-tape the tree to a piece of plywood; then camouflage the rigging. Well, you guessed it: it toppled a few days later.


“I’ll fix that!” I spewed.


Then I tied some rope around it and nailed it to the windowsill! That kept it up all season. So, I did it again the year after that, and the year after that (reutilizing that unremovable nail, buried deep in the foundation of the house).


The kids roared with laughter. I nervously, and painfully, chuckled along. (Now, of course, I find it quite hilarious!) It was a silly thing that turned the tide for us.


When we moved out of that house years later, the nail remained. As I gave the home a final, reminiscent tour, I smiled at the memory of it. (I smile even now.) I have often wondered what the new homeowners thought of that curious nail (because I doubt it ever came out!).


Decorating our home that year was ultra-important—but for the wrong reasons. I erred in believing that the very success of our Christmas depended on how it all looked. But, by God’s healing grace, He is teaching me a different set of values and priorities.


Decorating for Christmas is the non-essential. Preparing our homes, however, is not.


Here are a few personal thoughts on how to prepare a home for Christmas:


  • Pray over, in, and through each room—about the activities, conversations, and people that will occupy that space.

  • Leave out an open Bible (and share with others what you find there).

  • Make Jesus evident among you by giving Him thanks and praise whenever you see His hand at work.

  • Set the tone of your home by speaking words of kindness and respect.

  • Fill your home with the spirit of Jesus: Be patient, merciful, and humbly serve others in love. Be the example in attitude. And be forgiving of others (and yourself) when you blow it.

  • Try to minimize unnecessary clutter (if for the sole reason of mental health).

  • Finally, adorn the atmosphere with love and laughter.



Preparing our home has become far less dramatic . . . and traumatic. I don’t attempt to string up lights across the rooftop anymore. I have realized that’s not how you prepare your home for Christmas. And I’m quite ok with keeping the store-bought garnishments to a minimum. God has gently taught me to address what lies within first.


In a year when we have endured many significant changes, and an uncertain future, it would be easy to fall into a trap to go Griswold-overboard at Christmas. And with the additional circumstances of not being able to invite a large number of guests into our homes, it has become even more important that we simply invite and welcome Jesus into our homes—leaving Him room to dwell among us.



#dontoverdeckthehalls #homedecorating101 #whatnotto #PreparedAtChristmas

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Sharing from the riches of His grace so others may personally and profoundly know Jesus through God's living word, the Bible