The House is now "Christmas-fied" according to Joy

Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful; for beauty is God's handwriting - a wayside sacrament.  Welcome it in every fair face, in every fair sky, in every fair flower, and thank God for it as a cup of blessing.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

The living room--the tree, wall of windows to the outdoors, lots of lights come together to make it a place of beauty.

So many words have been crafted about whether we devalue the beauty and simplicity of the Christ story through all of the contemporary ways we have marketed and made Christmas into a pagan holiday. Should we celebrate with Christmas tree and validate the pagan ways? I have prayed and pondered all of these issues over the years.

In our home, though, we use the magnificent Christmas story as one more way to celebrate God's beauty, life, love, goodness and building memories together in our home. Home should be a haven, a storehouse, for creativity and the glory of workmanship that shows the divine spark of our ability to create an atmosphere that breathes the life of Christ. Home should encompass all that is good, inspirational, true, comforting, loving and real.

The world holds temptation and darkness. When we, as women, create an atmosphere that invites and welcomes our children, husbands and families every day, they will always see our home as a place of restoration, a haven in the storms of life. It is one of the glories of womanhood to craft, uniquely, her own home into that place that warms the hearts, stills the fears, captivates the imagination of those who live there for the glory of God.

As my older children have forayed out into this contemporary world where post modern thinking prevails, and there is temptation, darkness, cynicism on every side, they all long to come home to refuel, to find harmony with God's design, to feel loved and to remember why they need to be warriors for His kingdom. Home art creates a legacy of memories and longings that ties the strings of our children's hearts to our own home, values and faith, where they will return again and again to remember all that is of true value.

Creating a beautiful haven gives all who enter a place for their work, play, creating and living of life. And so, though the work is long, we seek every day, to create the beauty of His presence, not only in our words, but also in the atmosphere that supports our messages.

Child friendly--the Raggedy Dolls my mother made me as a little girl.

Swedish Elves to pull down and to pretend with on the den mantle.

A camel carrying gold, frankincense and myrrh

Interest to explore in every nook and cranny, collected and saved over the years to make this the unique, "Clarkson" haven.

Of course, beautiful books everywhere to cuddle up to read aloud together.

Beauty and candlelight adorning every available space.

A pedestal cake plate transformed into a candle-holding centerpiece.

Treasures from past days--my grandmother's ceramic handiwork!

The nativity scene my granny hand-painted so painstakingly so long ago, is celebrated every year.

The big old copper pot on the porch that held geraniums now holds the smells and greens of the winter outdoors.

So much more, but each item lovingly placed with hopes that all who come here, especially my boys who will return home to celebrate life, will feel welcomed, embraced with the peace, beauty, and life of the Lord Jesus, who so meticulously worked to make our own home on earth such a place of beauty to behold, a soul-filling masterpiece of His own handiwork.

Peace to you this day.