Let me begin with a simple statement: The Joneses Moved! If you need permission to change the way you decorate your home this year, then you have it! If you need freedom from pressures to out-decorate your neighbor, then you have it! Or if you need encouragement to actually buy a Christmas tree and cut loose your traditional Scrooge persona, then by all means you have it! The Joneses have left the neighborhood and you no longer have to keep up with them! When Jared and I were first married, I over-decorated for the holidays. Seriously. We went from a one bedroom married housing apartment at East Texas Baptist University to a parsonage with over 2,000 square feet six months into marriage. Our family was 2 members strong but I needed at least 7 or 8 long, bulky storage containers to contain my Christmas decorations. As our family grew, so did our decorations. About four Christmas seasons ago, my husband and I were on our way home from a Christmas party, and he complimented the simplicity of Christmas decorations at the host’s home. Obliviously, he gave me permission to scale down our decorations. Having said this, I think degrees of decorating swing with seasons of life. I am truly thankful for our relatives whose homes contain elaborate snow villages and pristine Christmas trees, themed by the room. The beauty of their home is comforting and reflective at Christmas, bringing warmth to family gatherings! There will be seasons I spend more time in the decorating details. However, for you moms out there with little ones, trees decorated from only the waist up are all the rage in my home! When Jared shared his desires for Christmas simplicity a few years ago, I was forced to think through why and how I decorated for the holidays. What do I want people to see after the strange top-heavy tree? Jesus.
Have you ever considered your home as a Christian witness? “Many Christians fail to employ effectively one of their greatest resources for influencing others for Christ – that is, their homes.” Advent is central to our family’s holiday celebration and decoration. Our tree’s centerpiece (above the waist of course) ALWAYS holds the manger scene ornaments, and my kids eagerly anticipate and look for those ornaments first. Advent candles adorn our dining room table, ones we daily light during family meals. An Advent calendar hangs in our hallway, serving as a daily reminder of the coming celebration of Christ’s birth. When guests enter my home, I do not want them to see Santa, I want them to see Jesus! If our homes lack Christmas decorations that might cause a non-believer to ask questions, maybe we need to rethink the point of decorating. As believers, we are called to be set apart in order to glorify God and make disciples (1 Peter 2:5, 9; Matthew 28:19). May our decorations be reminders and reflections of our lives – “gratitude for the promises that were fulfilled when God gave us the gift of his Son and anticipation of and preparation for Christ’s coming again.” Midst the cultural pressures, expectations, and Christmas decoration wars, we as believers truly must decide whom we will serve during the season. I echo the lyrical drumbeat I have heard often from my husband’s mouth, both in the pulpit and at home: “As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15).
As you contemplate your home for the season, consider these questions:
- What changes do you need to make in your home this season to keep Christ central?
- How can you display your faith in Christmas decorations?
- Who can you invite to your home this season, extend hospitality, and share Christ?
 Pat Ennis and Dorothy Kelley Patterson, The Christian Homemaker’s Handbook, 369.
 Noël Piper and John Piper, Treasuring God in Our Traditions (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2003), 80.