I pull out the boxes of Christmas decorations from the basement the day after Thanksgiving. My stomach is still full from the night before. It will be another day before we set up the Christmas decorations yet already I feel stuffed, in my clothes, in my home, in my life. The tree will take up much needed real estate in my already tiny front room. I groan thinking of a full month of feeling claustrophic in my house.
I frantically grab an empty laundry basket, moving through our first floor, I grab anything superfluous, extra books stacked, random shoes, multiple jackets. I Kon-Mari the downstairs in 5 minutes and decide that none of it gives me joy. As I circle back around to the top of the basement stairs, where I dumped the boxes of Christmas decorations, I find my 6 and 7-year-old boys dancing with glee. “The Christmas decorations!” they chime as they open a box.
I feel like a Grinch.
I remember years past, when they were younger, the language of the Church had confused them. When we talked about Advent, the time of preparation before Christmas, my boys had thought-- believed that Christ would come to our house at Christmas. They couldn’t wait to meet Him! No wonder they had cheerfully decorated our home in preparation. They wanted to make our home celebratory for our special guest!
When my husband and I were dating long distance, I remember those times he could fly to Portland, Oregon from the San Francisco Bay area to visit me. I’d dust and fluff pillows in happy anticipation. I had even bought house plants from Home Depot, thinking they made the place homier. I couldn’t wait for him to feel welcome at my home, imagining how one day, we’d share our own home together.
Isn’t that what Advent is?
We prepare our homes, a reflection of our hearts, to welcome Christ, the baby, the man, our God into our lives.
Don’t get me wrong. I still Kon-Maried my house but not because of fear or dread but excitement. As I wait for Christmas, I am hopeful. As I make my home cozy, welcoming for Christmas, I prepare my heart, allowing space for Christ to share more of my life. With expectant anticipation, I imagine how He will heal broken places in me and transform me into a better version of myself, my Christmas self.
I don’t stop at material objects. I Kon-Mari my schedule too. What do I spend my time on and who with? What gives me joy? I delete appointments on the calendar that aren’t essential, making space for the holy and frankly—the fun.
My home is decorated. The lights are twinkling. The warm scent of fresh baked cookies waft through our home while Christmas music plays on the speakers. I’m ready--with my big green tree in the front room to make it look homier for my special guest, the One who will make my home, my heart, myself—better, improved—transformed.
O Come Let Us Adore Him.