As I write, I have Christmas music playing on YouTube for it has seemed like Christmas when I looked out a window this week. The snow that started falling last Sunday remained on the ground through Saturday. Record breaking cold temperatures sent me rushing down the gravel lane to check the mail each day.
It was a good week to continue recovery from the eye surgery. I'm feeling much better now and my surgeon tells me the operation was very successful. I have regained about 80% of my eyesight in that eye. He thinks he may be able to help clear up the remaining vision, which was damaged from a previous diabetic trauma to the eye. This time with only laser surgery. I will know more at my next post-surgery visit in December.
I can't tell you how many times this past week, I have been grateful for a warm house when I walked past a window. The kitchen especially always takes on a golden glow when it is dark and snowy, probably because of the butter cream color of the kitchen cabinets.
I kept thinking of the word... Sanctuary.
We all need a sanctuary from cold winds, whether they be caused by nature or the way the cultural winds are blowing these days. We need a place to feel safe. We need warm drinks on cold days and stew simmering on the stove as was the case this past week.
I refrained from Christmas decorating but I did place a few winter decorations around the kitchen and living room. My family room has a bit of a cabin-in-the-woods feel about it all year, which happened by chance as I tweaked the look the past fourteen years. I even keep out a couple small primitive Christmas trees all year for the forest look.
I'm not the only one who feels the need for sanctuary at home these days. I was reading the Editor's Letter of a magazine recently and she wrote about the turmoil in society today and how the simple act of decorating our homes in a way we find beautiful allows us to share that beauty and peace with friends and family.
I have found that those of us who are women of faith need to have a reminder now and then that it is not only okay that we love beauty around us, it is in our spiritual DNA. We were born in a garden that was the picture of perfection and we have longed for Eden ever since the day our original parents were cast out of that home.
I have found that the enemy of our soul is still in the deceiving business and whispers in our ear that unimportant things such as wanting our home to be warm and beautiful is not very spiritual, you know. How... worldly.
But it isn't. Worldly that is. Not when it is done because we need beauty. It only becomes worldly when we desire the applause of the world. When coveting is behind our desire for beauty, then nothing we do and no amount of money spent will bring us the peace we desire. We will always long for more than we have, searching for that feeling we think buying stuff will bring. Especially if it is more expensive than our neighbor can afford.
No, it is not worldly to desire our home to be warm and cozy and comfortable for those who live in it with us and those who walk through the doors into our care. We understand that our job description is important, we are creators of sanctuary in a fallen sin filled world.
Does that mean there is always peace in my home? No. However, I have found ways to create peace on difficult days. I have in place my Bible on the coffee table, books in the midst of reading, a few DVDs sitting next to the television, a favorite CD in the CD player in the Study, ingredients for the creation of good things in the kitchen... and headphones when necessary. ;)
You, my friend, are a missionary of peace and a maker of beauty and a light in the darkness. The same Holy Spirit who filled the Temple with His Beauty is at work within you to bring that beauty into your world. You are not worldly for making your home your creative canvas. You are simply made in the image of the Creator.
He has gone back to the Father and the word on the street is that He is building a home for each person who has accepted his gift of salvation. I have a feeling that when we walk through that door, we will finally be in the home we have desired all of our life.
In the meantime, you can have the ministry of making your home a sanctuary for those who walk through the front door. Never perfect and rarely completely clean but those who enter will know there is a person that cares about this place and it shows in comfy furniture, lit candles (battery operated where kids and kitties are around), soft music, good smells coming from the kitchen, and a welcome smile.
Image: The Warmth of Autumn by Susan Rios