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Preparing Our Hearts For Christmas

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Christmas time means so much to me. It’s the gatherings with good friends. Reconnecting with family members near, and far. It’s relishing in the rich, aromatic fragrance of freshly cut fur trees. Christmas music playing softly, while sipping rich coffee fireside. The thrill of shimmering lights all around and being amazed that the twinkle in my granddaughters eyes outshines them all. It’s flashback memories of her dad, alongside his brother and sister, on the bar-stools beside me slinging powdered sugar (snow) like confetti, as we constructed and accessorized our ginger house (shack) with every kind of candy imaginable.

I especially appreciate sweet Christmas time for offering me a free, personal pass to enjoy limitless sugary deliciousness I’d otherwise feel guilty indulging myself in.

Regardless of Christmas memories past, the overwhelming preparations of Christmas present often rob my joy. What about you, friend? I think most of us become overwhelmed as Christmas Day tip toes its way across our jam-packed schedules, tapping us on the shoulder, as if to say: Surprise! Ready or not, here I come! No matter how overwhelming, or how excited we are, we all know:

Christmas celebrations don’t just happen magically. Christmas celebrations happen because someone took the time to carefully plan and prepare.

Oh sure, some of us are well-planned prepare-rs, making it look so easy. Some procrastinate, preparing absolutely nothing ahead of time, then panic over last minute demands.

It’s no easy task to drag the gazillion stored boxes of decorations down from the attic. And it takes time to decorate the table, the mantle, the tree, and ourselves for the party that’s happening TONIGHT! Eikkkk!

Remember, You have to make a mess before you can prepare something beautiful.

While we prepare our homes for the holiday season, let’s be intentional about preparing our hearts, too. What’s the point in working our fingers to the bone, preparing a beautiful home and perfect meals, yet failing to prepare our hearts for Christmas?

Remember, YOU are the most important decorating accessory. Not one single item stored inside your Christmas bins has potential to reflect the true spirit of Christmas as much as YOU! From my twenty-five years of experience as a designer, the most elegantly decorated homes are often overshadowed by bad attitudes of a stressed and exhausted hostess. I have been the stressed-out undone hostess more times than I want to admit. Because of this, I’m happy to to share wisdom learned along the way.

This holiday season:

If you take care of yourself, you will be able to take care of others with a beautiful spirit, as if you are wearing the light of the world like a beautiful garment. You, my sister, will twinkle brighter than any Christmas lights adorning the tree.

As you prepare your own heart for Christmas you are, in essence, preparing to create beautiful holiday memories your friends and family will treasure for a lifetime.

I have been privileged to spend time in many homes, throughout my years as an interior designer. The most beautiful homes are those where others-minded people live. These are the clientele who leave lasting impressions; because, their purpose in creating beautiful comes from a selfless desire to share, love, serve, and bless others with all they’ve been given, rather than feverishly trying to impress and “keep up with the Jone’s.”

So, this year, I want to challenge you as you prepare your home to also prepare your heart. Prepare to bless others with all God has given you. Remember what an honor it is to have a home, to display contentment, to create a peaceful environment where true rest is found. It doesn’t matter if you live in a mobile home, or a mansion. Celebrate all you have been given to the fullest extent.

Bake until your hearts content. But, be sure to stop at a reasonable time and get proper rest.

Take a little time out of your ‘crazy’ to sip your favorite cup of tea or Java, as you write your “to-do” lists.

Set reasonable goals for daily tasks in preparation for Christmas traditions.

Reward yourself for your hard work by soaking in a nice, warm, bath at the end of your preparation day/s.

As you decorate each nook and cranny – rearranging, embellishing, even purging random unnecessary things – ask God to decorate, rearrange, embellish, and purge your heart and mind, in order to be fully present in each moment during the Christmas season and beyond.

Don’t compare your home with others. Instead, do what you can with what you have been given.

Celebrate what God has done in your life and in the lives of those you love.

Think about how good God has been to your family as you unpack each decoration. And when you find broken pieces in bottom of storage bins, thank God for healing the broken pieces of your heart and for carrying you through each season of life you have faced thus far.

Make every obstacle an opportunity to express gratitude and in doing so you will prepare your heart for Christmas joy.

Remember to be true to YOU. Don’t do Christmas like everyone else.

There is no one like YOU.

Surround yourself with the things you love, the colors you treasure, and use items that remind you of joyful times past.

Be creative.

No matter how elegant I try to decorate my home, my favorite ornaments are those my children made in elementary school. I smile each time I hang the scraggly button bracelet my daughter made for me when she was only four years old and I celebrate the creative, godly woman she has become.

I sometime tear up when I see the wooden cross my oldest son made, and thank God his dreams of becoming a contractor and builder came true.

I giggle as I hang the raggedy, one-eyed, paper reindeer my adventurous, youngest son made in kindergarten, right next to way more elegant ornaments. And, I marvel how much more valuable these are to me.

My eclectic approach to Christmas decorating works perfectly for me, blending old and new, past and present.

Prepare for a Christmas that works for you and your family and be at peace with it!

As you blend your old, your new, your past and present, may you look forward with hope to the brand new future Almighty God has for you.

While preparing your heart for Christmas, you’ll be truly embracing the reason for the season, the gift of God’s one and only son, Jesus. In Him, you will be well-prepared for all of your tomorrows!

I would love to hear how you prepared your heart for Christmas. Please leave a message here, so others can be inspired by your wisdom, too!

LaTan

Pictures are original designs by: Interior Elegance by LaTan/LaTan Murphy LLC

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