I just finished decorating for Christmas! But if you walk into my home, you may not notice it right away. See, I tried doing the whole Christmas tree and Santa thing for a while, but it never sat right with me. My minimalist nature got all scratchy with hives after the tree had been up for a few days and I generally ended up taking it down before December even hit.
I have three small children, but we tend to focus more on the gospel this time of year–much more so than the commercialization of the holidays. Sure, we still have fun spotting Santa in the mall and driving around to see Christmas lights, but my kids know that Santa Claus is a symbol to remind us of the generosity of St. Nicholas and, more importantly, the gifts we’ve been given by God himself, including baby Jesus.
For us, this season is about the advent of Christ and recognizing why and how He came into our world in order to bring about His new kingdom.
But, it’s still fun to be festive. We just do it in our own way.
A new addition to our decor is the gallery wall above our couch. I’ve had the globe artwork for a couple of years and it has very special meaning for me. The Latin phrase written on it can be translated into “Fortune Favors the Brave” and just looking at it reminds me to be brave in life–even when things aren’t looking so great.
The new pieces include a golden antlered stag, who we’ve named “Belvedere”, and the lion below it from one of my favorite artists. Besides just being downright gorgeous, these two pieces have special meaning for me. The stag and lion are both symbols of Christ. The stag, or deer, is a symbol of grace because of it’s majestic movement. It’s also been used a symbol for resurrection because the antlers of the stag fall off (die) and grow back larger and more beautiful (resurrection). How fitting is it that reindeer are used so often in Christmas decorations and stories?
The other, more obvious, symbol for Christ is the lion. Lions are kings and since Jesus is
a descendant of the principal tribe of Israel, the tribe of Judah, he is the Lion (King) of Judah. Even more symbolism for you–the word Judah means, praise. Jesus Christ is the one King to whom all praise and honor are due.
My kids are currently enthralled with the Chronicles of Narnia series, where a lion named Aslan serves as a symbol for Christ in the mythical world of Narnia, so this has been quite the conversation piece for us lately!
The most nostalgic part of our Christmas decorations is our set of personalized stockings. To me, these are the perfect mixture of simplicity and elegance and I look forward to the days when my boys are all grown up and we’re still pulling out these soft white stockings. It’s important to me that I’m conscious about where I buy things from, so you’ll notice that most of the decor in my home is handmade from etsy artisans. As a small business owner myself, I love to see my purchases going to help other entrepreneurs and artists succeed. These gifted people are “God’s fingers” bringing beauty into the world!
To help us prepare for the day we celebrate Jesus’ birth, we love to use this simple advent calendar. There are no secret doors to open or treats to indulge in, but the boys really do enjoy moving the little bear from pocket to pocket as December goes by.
Another white stag rests on the bar cart to remind us of the reason we’re celebrating this season. The minimalist in me requires that all the “clutter” must be quarantined together, so this is where all of the chachkies go.
And in our dining room, a single garland of holly–a symbol of eternity or eternal life. We believe that God’s creation project will not end with our bodily death, but that we’ll be resurrected with Christ in the new world.
And really, that’s what the meaning of Christmas boils down to. We are celebrating the advent of God becoming human so that heaven and earth are joined together at last, as He always intended.