This is the fifth article in the series ‘10 Things to Do with Your Family This Christmas Season.’
Home: That most singular of places, a sanctum where we should be best known, the residence of life at its deepest and most intimate, the outpost from which the family, that beautiful institution, reaches out like a ray of light from a window and extends the beauty and power of Christ’s dominion into every aspect of culture.
House: A structure generally built for the purpose of sheltering humans, in western culture commonly set apart from other structures by exteriors intended to guard an interior of privacy and facilitate the nocturnal retreat of its occupants from daily work and interaction.
What a vast difference in the two terms! Home is relational. It happens anywhere, whether the house it resides in is large or cramped, richly or poorly furnished, in a good neighborhood or a depressed one. It does not depend on wealth or design. It does not grow or diminish with equity. Anyone can decorate a house for Christmas. Not many know what it means to adorn a home. Before we can hear the admonition to adorn, we must grasp and love the concept of creation.
When God created the world, every minute detail and colossal landscape was designed and ordered with law and love. Gravity and proportion, structure and texture, function and form; all of it has never stopped shouting “Glory!” ever since he spoke it into being.
Look around your home and consider, as God does, what you give form to and why. The externals are simply an expression of the nature of the Creator. Creation speaks so eloquently that Paul says in Romans that no man has an excuse to appeal to ignorance about God. All men know God because they see him in everything.
When you adorn your home for Christmas this year, what are the colors and shapes and smells and forms communicating? What old traditions, what new ideas, speak about Christmas what you want to silently communicate to the world. There is eloquence in the spicy-sweet scent from a candle or a balsam fir. Lights and festive reds and extra greens on a table or mantle can immediately say “Christmas!” Why is that? True, the fact that hundreds of generations have for over two millennia originated and then perpetuated these traditions plays a part. But there is more than that, I believe. In the work of adorning, we mirror and glorify our Maker. Aesthetic statements passed from parent to child over and over are drawn out of the overflowing splendor of all that the first Artist created, to express what words cannot about him.
Consider: whatever you bring in, whether in its original form or an imitation (I begrudgingly accept the artificial tree crowd), was made to take its part in the symphony of Glory to God. You are merely displaying work that is not your own to celebrate a work of the King of Kings that was none of our doing. When Mary laid the infant Savior in the manger, she knew him to be the work of his Father, not her own. Be humbled and marvel as you lay out and store up and revel in all the beauty and treasures of Christmas. Grandma’s heirloom cookie plate may be a favorite Christmas centerpiece. Your eyes may delight in twinkling lights shining from every corner. But the inheritance we all proclaim is the Messiah and the beauty of his holiness, and the adornment that we rejoice in are the royal robes not our own that he dresses us in.