It’s that time of year again, and I know we’re all bursting with excitement to break out our evergreen garlands, twinkle lights, bells and ribbons—all the things. It’s one of my favorite parts of the holiday season. The anticipation of waiting for Christmas, the giddiness of doing all your favorite family traditions, the joyful gatherings. It all I think is very representative of how we’re meant to live this season in our spiritual life.
A joyful anticipation of the birth of the newborn King that sends us into full preparation mode. Because in the end that’s what this is all about, right? To invite Jesus into our hearts and homes.
Beauty is a reflection of God’s own heart, and the beauty we choose to adorn our homes with can be a way to elevate our souls and those that enter into our home this season to the King we so eagerly await to welcome. With that, let’s dive into how to deck the halls with Jesus in mind!
Create a space in your home to display a nativity scene and leave baby Jesus hidden until Christmas when he is born. It can be as simple as the Holy Family or as elaborate as all the townspeople! Growing up my family would put together these big nativity scenes with the shepherds and animals, the announcing angels, the wise men and more. This was such a beautiful way to remind us of the true meaning of Christmas–Jesus birth, not Santa bringing presents–and create an excitement in our hearts to place baby Jesus in the little manger on Christmas Eve.
Our Catholic Church in its wisdom knows the time set apart that we need to prepare our hearts and souls to meet Christ. Entering into the Advent season allows us to remember Jesus’ first coming as well as gives us a space to reflect on his second coming, and how we can prepare ourselves for that promised time. The circle shape of the wreath is a symbol of God’s eternal nature and our hope for eternal life. Having an Advent Wreath in our homes serves as a daily reminder of this liturgical season of preparation and penance that can so often be forgotten as we get swept up in the season celebrations.
The beauty of this holiday is that it is literally a Christian celebration, and many of the traditional Christmas symbols actually have religious meaning. Knowing the origins of each can help us to choose how to decorate our homes according to what meaning we need a reminder of the most.
- The Christmas Tree- Ever wonder why an evergreen tree? As its branches continue to flourish through the dead winter months, it stands as a symbol of everlasting life that each of us were created for.
- The Star- Representing the Star of Bethlehem, that shone bright above the manger and led the wise men to Jesus, putting up stars in our home can serve as a reminder to us to always orient our lives towards Christ, even amidst the busy season.
- The Candy Cane- Shaped like a cane, this Christmas classic is a symbol of Jesus the Good Shepherd and the red color represents the blood he shed for us on the cross.
The Christmas season provides amazing opportunities to start family traditions, and through what you decide to adorn your home with, you can teach your family about God’s saving plan for us through his son Jesus, and to communicate the Christian reality of Christmas to friends and neighbors. May all your holiday preparations prepare your hearts to encounter the child Jesus ever anew this Christmas!