Mary, Did You Know (Bethlehem Didn't have a Hobby Lobby)?

I am positive that mine isn't the only blog you read.

That being said, I am also positive that you, like I,
have seen a 100 Christmas mantels, 1,000 Holiday vignettes, 10,000 Sugar cookies, 
trees, lights, glass bulbs and garland all over blogland.

I am overwhelmed and inspired by all of of it.
AND all of you- 
the creative and sentimental
keepers of your abode, 
lovers of your brood, 
decorators of your homes.
Y'all are a combination of dozens of my favorite magazines!

Christmas has always been my favorite season to decorate.
I love helping Mark get the boxes down and out of the loft in the garage.
I enjoy seeing the new pretties I got the day after Christmas that I forgot I about.
I am fond of seeing all the ornaments once again, the new ones and the heirlooms.

But once it's all out of its hibernation state, I lose perspective.
Even I, a designer by trade, am baffled by the sheer supply
of frou frous that enamored me enough to put them in my cart.

WHY do I need all this stuff?
WHAT good does it do me spending 335 days out of its existence packed up
and stored where the sun don't shine?
WHERE do I "vignette" it all?
WHEN did it seem like a good idea to own every vintage flocked bird 
that the retired lady was selling at her Spring Estate Sale?
WHO am I trying to impress?

This year, I am asking myself these questions as I unwrap each morsel of adornment.

It's not that I don't enjoy these things,
but somewhere along the way, their lure has lost its luster.

It has been replaced by the conclusion that meaning doesn't come from a shiny, reflective ball,
flocked snow, painted twigs and adorable stockings.
Or that the season's purpose needs more embellishment by me.

2,000 years ago, our dying race was given the most beautiful present ever imaginable.
Was it wrapped in polka-dotted ribbon?
With a glittery tag?
Was this gift placed under a dazzling tree?

This gift lay in a mucky, lightless, unbeautified and unembellished barn.

Mary did not visit Hobby Lobby or Michael's for ribbon, wreaths or bulbs.
Joseph wasn't up on the roof attaching light strands with thatch clips.
I am pretty sure that there wasn't any eggnog or wassail to imbibe.

But what we ARE told is that this night, the light of the world came to us.
This night, the neighborhood was visited by it's first ever Heavenly carolers.
This night, heaven came to earth and emancipated it.

I can still deck our halls and hang the mistletoe.

But, as I sing along with each hymn,
display each shining item that I have found on sale or in a box on someone's driveway,
as I liberate the crafts designed years ago by my toddler's fingers
arrange and rearrange the lights on the bushes,
I will remember that the reason I treasure this season so much 
is that my Jesus is
the true light of the world, the creative embellisher, the original beautifier
and liberator of treasures, emancipator of souls.

He is the gift to my heart.
And Hobby Lobby has nothing on sale that compares to that.
And I'll bet Mary would have said the same thing.



  1. Thank you for the lovely reminder!! Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you: he is Christ the Lord.Luke 2:11

  2. Oh Leslie, thank you so much for speaking this truth today! I, too, feel like I lose perspective and yet when I am in the car with my son and he says "why did God send Jesus to be a baby and grow up and die on the cross?" and we have an amazing conversation while I fight back tears, it brings it all back to the real reason we celebrate. A couple of posts back I shared an Advent devotional that I would love for you to take a look at if you get a chance sometime!
    Yours is truly one of my most favorite blogs to visit because of how you share your heart as well as your home with us!
    Bless you my friend,

  3. You are so right, Leslie. A lot of people forget what Christmas truly is. The GIFT of Jesus, not Santa.

  4. I'm really feeling "pressed" lately. Pressed to rise above the yearly cycle of "traditions" that can trap us if we are not careful. God is dealing w/ my heart, pressing upon me, and I'm not sure I can convey in a comment what's going on.

    The one thing He keeps reminding me of, "You have Me, you know Me, so many more need to know Me...don't miss the opportunities I've set before you to share ME with those who oppose themselves, who are lost, who are desperate, make ME known to them." I am feeling very pressed to share the GOODNESS He has given me, the gift of Jesus, like never before.

  5. Amen Sister! Love your beautiful words today.

  6. Beautifully put! Thank you for putting this feeling into words for us all!

  7. Leslie I adore this post! Gorgeous photos and even more beautiful words. Thank you.

    Have a happy holiday weekend my friend!
    Warmly, ~Melissa :)

  8. Well, it's not the ONLY blog I read, but it is my favorite...and that's the truth!
    I just started reading Noel Piper's book "Treasuring God In Our Traditions" and it has really made me think about how I can be more deliberate in making Christ the center of our celebrations. One way I am doing this is by using words that point us to Christ in my decorating - Glory, Peace, Joy, etc. I'm trying to figure out where to put the words to the hymn "Who Is He In Yonder Stall" . If you don't know that one, find it and listen to it - the gospel in song. I loved this post today - thank you!

  9. I know it's not your traditional "Christmas" song but lately I have been playing (over and over) Brenton Brown's "Reign in Me" I feel so pressured at this time of year to "be more than I am"; rush, rush, buy, buy, out do everyone else. I truly want my life to reflect the beauty of my Lord. Thanks for sharing! In His Grace

  10. Very nice post, Leslie. I have a lot of do dads, too, but the PEACE of the season is what I yearn for the most. Susan

  11. well said!!! let's not forget the "reason for the season".......

    thanks so much for visiting my bloggy and leaving such sweet thoughts.


  12. Amen! Thanks be to God for His indescribable Gift!

  13. Beautiful ! I get overwhelmed with other's decoration but i try not to compare because we all have a different style and things mean something else than others. Anyways, i love your vignettes and decor !!!!

  14. Beautiful post, Leslie. I too enjoy all the eye candy out there, and have a fair bit in our home too. This year, however, more than any other year that I can think of, I am taking the time to wish people, at the checkout, the drive thru, etc, a MERRY CHRISTMAS. I am blessed to work in, and my kids attend, separate school systems where we can pray and celebrate the true meaning of Christmas and I no longer take this for granted. With all the secular pressures, I am taking the time to enjoy Advent.

  15. I am literally in awe of your gift of words! Thanks, again, for another wonderful "makes one think" post.
    I truly desire that God's Most Precious Gift be the focus of our Christmas.

  16. I think you make a very good point. Please keep helping us think through some of what we do simply by habit!

  17. Oh,what a beautiful post. It truly expresses what many of us have in our hearts-and what others need to be reminded of.

  18. Beautifully written coming from a beautiful heart.

  19. Great post my friend! I don't even have the first decoration out yet. We've been so busy with life that decorating hasn't happened. Maybe...hopefully...sometime this week it will happen...hopefully ;)

    Love ya girl!

  20. This is the most perfect post I've seen all season. Thank you. You've said it all and so beautifully. Hugs, Marty

  21. So true! Thanks for the reminder. I am doing all free decorations this year. I wanted to take the focus off of the money and put it on just being together and being creative. You are so's all about Christ. Lisa~

  22. Amen to that...

    Such a nice post to remind us all not to forget the real meaning of Christmas:)

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts...

  23. Amen ~ I agree!
    Beautiful post, lovely photos. I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed this year with things I want to get done and your post has made me realize I need to mellow out about it all.
    Thanks for sharing.

  24. Oh I LOVE this post, my friend! I am even going to link to it, if that's okay. It says so well, what we all need to ponder to keep the true perspective! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!

  25. Beautifully said! What a great reminder for everyone out there who gets lost in the glitter and frou frous!!

  26. Stopping by via the Nester...

    You made me smile and warmed my heart, dear lady! Merry Christmas to you and yours!

    ~Oh, and your home is divine! ;o)

  27. Hey there, Nester sent me. This was absolutely perfect, and my most favorite post I have seen out in blogland this season. :)

  28. oh mercy, that's good stuff. wow, that'll preach.

  29. So wonderfully said-His gift out does anything we could do. I keep reminding myself that Jesus didn't come to earth so I could have a wonderfully decorated house, he came to die so that I could have life. Thanks for sharing this!

  30. Amen! Thank you for sharing with all the real reason for the season. Unfortunately, the world of retail would rather us believe that stuff is the reason, Santa is the reason, the "Holiday" and such...I'm so excited to see that there are a few of us left that know the true reason for Jesus being born! Around here at Christmas, we say "Happy Easter" since the reason He was born was to die for our sin....Romans 10:9, 10

    Becky B.

  31. So beautiful and true!! Amen and Amen.

  32. Visiting from Nester's blog...

    I love the part about Him being the liberator of treasures :) We are the treasures He came to set free! Praise God :)

    Fabulously written and well thought out post! Inspiring :)


    Mrs. Q

  33. beautifully stated and perfectly described for those of us who love all things HOME. merry christmas and thank you for this Christmas blessing.

  34. Thank you for adding some beautiful, insightful, (and much needed) perspective to the season. Merry Christmas!

  35. Such an amazing post, thank you so much for writing it. I linked to your blog and this post here:

  36. You said it, sweet friend. And I'm so glad Nester picked it up. . . now lots of people will get to read your wise words!

    You are so right--and I thank you for sharing what you know. Would that all the world would know about this gift!!

  37. Found this thru the glad she linked to you! This post is exactly what I needed today. I'll be linking it to my blog (for about four family members that read it). :) Thanks so much!

  38. Yes, yes, and yes! I wrote a similar post this past Friday about why I chose not to decorate this year ( and yes, I am an interior designer) and how JOYOUS I am with my decision.

  39. Thank you, and amen to that!!! I appreciate you saying what I have been feeling.

  40. AMEN AMEN AMEN!!!!!!!!! This is how Ive been feeling this year too. For that fact I left alot of the "decor" right in storage and simplified everything. May we always remember the true reason for the season!
    Lord Bless and have a Merry Christmas!

  41. New follower via Pulette Insall's blog...I hope you'll stop by and say hi sometime...I am a Christian Artist Among other titles. Many Blessings, Deborah
    Maybe you'll consider following me too!

  42. One of the best posts I've read in ages! I think that all of us "collectors" need to apply your logic to the rest of the year as well - personally, I'm finding that clearing out the "clutter" and keeping what matters is incredibly freeing! Going, going, gone are several collections that I "had to have" in favor of items that I truly love and cherish. Thank you for sharing such a well thought and clearly honest perspective!

  43. i've been thinking about this a lot lately... my dissatisfaction with my mantel decor has nothing to do with the advent of my Savior. and although God certainly doesn't mind if i re-paint my kitchen walls, He certainly wants more of my adoration than my paint color catalog... He is what makes this season beautiful, not my mercury glass votives. : ) Merry Christmas!

  44. Hands down the best Christmas decorating post I've read this year....maybe ever! :) LOVED it and love celebrating my Savior's birth!!

  45. OH! This post is wonderful! You nailed it- in a way that fellow crafters and artists can relate to!! I'm going to share your post on our facebook page - I know many of our readers and fans would love your message. I'm so glad to have discovered your blog today through Paulette Insall - (She had put up a fb link to you today.) please come visit our family's art journal if you get a chance. I'm for sure going to be coming back to visit you again soon. Love to find other artists/designers/bloggers who are also spreading the Good News in what they do!
    Merry Christmas!

  46. Wow! amazing post!! I LoVe Everything about! Can't wait to check your blog out further - clicked through from the Nester:)

    Merry Christmas! Dee

  47. Love this, great reminder of what Christmas is about!


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