Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Surely The Lord Is In This Place

It's important to my husband and me that our home at Christmastime (well, year-round really, but especially at Christmas) reflects our faith. Now I hope it isn't sacrilegious to say so but I'm personally not a huge fan--aesthetically speaking--of really ornate, over-the-top religious mementos in the home. I prefer the subtle and understated, in almost all areas of life come to think of it.

Anyone who visits our home would be able to deduce that we are serious Christians--from the books on the shelves, the wooden cross hanging above our door, the simple John the Baptist icon in our bedroom. This time of year, the Nativity scene and Advent wreath and many of our ornaments remind us of our faith.

Our house is filled with our Christian beliefs but it's all very, well, subtle and understated is the best way to say it. Kind of like the early Christians who marked their homes with a fish crudely carved above their doorways. There's such power in this simplicity. Of course, there are times when God calls us to shout from the rooftops. He would never want us to hide our faith or shy away from sharing it. There is a time to be bold and wear your heart on your sleeve, there is a place for incredible religious monuments. Take me to St. John the Divine in all its ornate majesty and I'm overcome with emotion and awe and spiritual power.

Faith is the most important thing in life. But it's also at its core supremely private and personal. God hears every whispered prayer and counts every breath and understands every ounce of who we are. He knows every child before it is conceived and He sends us signs from above and guides us from deep within our hearts.

God is always with us. Sometimes, of course, His presence is tangible and obvious and those moments are precious. But most of the time He moves mysteriously and delicately, subtly. Most of the time He doesn't hit us over the head but instead loves us through nudges and coaxes and quietly answered prayers. Most of the time He goes totally unseen and it is our job to believe without seeing.

I suppose that's why I prefer to fill our home with these simpler sorts of religious icons. To me, God is most powerful when He's subtle, when He makes us strain to hear Him. In real everyday life it isn't always easy to find God. Life can be so, so difficult. But as Christians we know without a doubt--whether we're in St. John the Divine or in our homes or in the most desolate wilderness--we know that surely, the Lord is in this place.

Merry Christmas, friends! May it be holy and bright.


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