Finding New Depths of Hope No Matter What the Holidays Hold

Whether you are humming Santa Claus is Comin to Town while a batch of homemade Christmas cookies bake in the oven or you are struggling to muster the strength just to take a shower, I honor you. Times remain uncertain, and you have done oh so many hard things in 2020. Finding New Depths of Hope No Matter What the Holidays Hold picks up where reflections from a few Decembers ago left off. Writing about mystical matters is a challenge, but I hope in this imperfect attempt, you’ll somehow be reminded of your utter belovedness.

Christmas decor in entry with red plaid scarf, red boots, zinc vase, and pom pom wreath - Hello Lovely Studio

Finding New Depths of Hope No Matter What the Holidays Hold

Today was filled with beauty as my husband and I spent it with our best friends. We reflected on the highs and lows of the year, expressed awe at how much anguish and healing happened. It has been a doozy.

Snow covered bench with bucket of Christmas greenery, wood lantern, and French mirror - Hello Lovely Studio
Our courtyard last Christmas.

Here’s the thing. Whether your days are colored with wellth, illness, addiction, recovery, grief, joy, divorce, success, failure, or betrayal, I stand with you. I honor your journey.

I’m just like you. Struggling too. Muddling through. And seeking transformation to become new.

A Deepening Hope During the Holidays
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The holidays pose a challenge to feel peaceful for plenty of folks. Even if you focus on the holiness of the birth of Christ with an open heart and are grateful for His teachings and your blessings, the consequences of 2020 may still overwhelm.

How do we recover our bearings and calm? I find I must slow down enough to notice how the reason for the season–the Christmas story–is also my story, right where I am.

It’s a story of incarnation and transformation.

B E F O R E – a kitchen transforming

(These before/afters prove our home’s story is also about transformation!)

White Shaker kitchen with Christmas wreath over sink - Hello Lovely Studio
A F T E R – Hello Lovely Studio
Swedish candles at window over farm sink with Christmas wreath and fairy lights - Hello Lovely Studio

As I slowly grow, what I sense is a deeper level of Christmas hope and peace within the mystery.

Peace which meets me just as I am in the dark lowly stable of my depravity. In the dark night of my circumstances, new hope rises as I consider how the Light of the world sees me during this holy season.

That Light somehow deems me a worthy home for royalty.

Oh what transforming light beams from THE RADIANT GLANCE OF MERCY.

It’s always beaming, and when life’s complexity distracts me from the radiance, then I must seek the grace to find it again.

Related image

Unlike 21st century DIY whole-house renovation, the mysterious mechanics of interior transformation and whole-making are beyond me.

I only know I sense a trustworthy energy feeding me from a lighter realm and somehow holding everything in the cosmos together.

Let’s face it. Most days, the eyes of my heart are closed, and where I remain in my head and ego, I cannot see the everlasting. Thank God each new day is a chance to awaken and transform. To become still enough to surrender thoughts, judgment, and mental chatter in an emptying of self.

The soul opens, and deeper sight suddenly becomes possible.

I express this not with certainty, but in pure wonder:

a heart can become Bethlehem where something new may be born.

B E F O R E – a DIY labor of love

Heartfulness is a word I love; I learned it along the wisdom path from teachers Cynthia Bourgeault and Matthew Wright.

Cultivating heartfulness is one of the most meaningful pursuits I know and involves aligning with qualities like sweetness and gentleness. 

It blossoms with faith, trust, and spiritual practices such as meditation, silence, solitude, and daily rhythms.

A sacred rhythm in my own daily life has helped me cultivate heartfulness for decades, and it’s as simple as…

B E F O R E – the dining room transforming
Belgian style living room and dining room - Hello Lovely Studio
A F T E R – Hello Lovely Studio

Sweeping the floor prayerfully. Whether it’s your floor or someone else’s, to be alone in the room with a broom is all that is required.

I allow the rhythm and tender sway of dust and crumb to have its way, and as I work in stillness, the task transcends simply sweeping.

Indeed I am preparing room in my heart for heaven and nature to sing. Tears often arrive, and I allow them to cleanse what requires cleansing.

Fresh branches and gold balls on my mantel - Hello Lovely Studio

Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room

How to honor the deeper, divine fullness of CHRISTMAS? Ilia Delio helps me find the vocabulary and heartspace…listen to her wisdom here:

I share this vulnerable territory with a tender heart

prone to feeling residual pain as an empath during the holidays,

But heart pain can be transformed!

Rather than numbing, repressing, or transmitting pain (hurt, anger, betrayal, sadness, disappointment, shame…),

I long to surrender it.

I long to place it near the manger,

alongside Frankincense and Myrrh,

under the Christmas blessing of faith and truth.

I long to meet and reflect

that Radiant Glance of Mercy

shining like a Star in the East,

awakening my soul to beauty and

reminding me of who I am (love) and to whom I belong (Love).

It’s as if I must keep relearning the depth, intimacy, and sublime privilege of greeting the divine with a soulful

HELLO, LOVELY.

**********

Pure joy.

You’re so lovely. This community has upheld me and my family through a devastating year, and I’m forever grateful.

With 6 days til Christmas, I will be praying for each of you, asking for strength, comfort, and supernatural resilience to cover you and bless your soul. I’m with you.

Sending hope and…

peace to you right where you are.

-michele

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White Slipcovered Sofa
French Country Kubu Basket Set
Whitewashed Table Lamp Set of 2
Antique Chinese Wood Rustic Round Stool
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Round Farmhouse Table
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Deconstructed Wingback Bed
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Milagro Heart
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Edgecombe End Table
Silver Rectangle Accent Table
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Round Farmhouse Dining Table
Reclaimed Wood Dresser
Louis Upholstered Bench
Pardon My French Doormat
Stripe Turkish Towel Throw
Pamela Arm Chair
Sweater Weave Basket
French Carved Wood Chandelier
Terracotta Pots & Basket
French Country Wood Chandelier
French Linen Dining Chair
Gustavian Cabinet
French Farmhouse Dining Table
Bar Stool
Beachy White Slipcovered Sofa
Rattan Armchair
Diptyque Oyedo Candle
Cross Back Dining Chair
French Country Candle Holder
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Designer Favorite Wall Mirror
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French Country 6-Light Chandelier
Rustic End Table
French Country Upholstered Arm Chair
Wicker Trunk Set
French Ticking Stripe Pillow
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Rustic Industrial Farmhouse Shelves
Belgian Linen Sofa
White Duvet & Bedding
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French Market Basket
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French Country Farmhouse Baskets
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White Charleston Sofa
Scrubbed Wood 5-Light Chandelier
Arched Champagne Wall Mirror
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28 Comments

  1. December 12, 2017 / 6:03 pm

    Michele this is such a beautiful post. So many struggle during the holidays and it is a beautiful message to share that they are not alone. I hope that you have a wonderful Christmas surrounded by the love of your family and friends and the love and peace of Jesus.

    • michele
      Author
      December 12, 2017 / 9:13 pm

      Thanks, Elizabeth. I know it’s a bit of a melancholic, heavy sort of post so I appreciate the kind words. 🙂

  2. PJ
    December 13, 2017 / 4:00 am

    Beautifully written, Michele! This is such an inspirational piece.

    • michele
      Author
      December 14, 2017 / 9:42 am

      Thanks for reading, PJ. Peace to you.

  3. December 13, 2017 / 5:40 am

    This is such a beautifully written post and echos some of the feelings I’ve experienced in Christmases past. This year is different as we are moving and not decorating and my home is nearly bare. As I wrote to a friend last night, I think that in the simplicity I might sense His Presence more this year than any other.

    I don’t know where you’ve been Hello Lovely, or why I’ve never seen this blog before but I can’t wait to read more. I can tell I’m going to love it!

    Thank you and have a blessed holiday season.
    Patti

    • michele
      Author
      December 14, 2017 / 10:05 am

      Thank you for finding me and adding so much beauty to this post, Patricia. So happy to hear you are sensing His Presence in the simplicity, and I think I know just what you mean. Peace to you, new friend. 🙂

  4. Alice Genzlinget
    December 13, 2017 / 6:59 am

    Beautifully and wonderfully put.

    • michele
      Author
      December 14, 2017 / 10:00 am

      Thanks so much for reading and for your kindness, Alice. Peace to you. 🙂

  5. Kathy
    December 13, 2017 / 7:21 am

    Beautiful, Michele. I love the thought of transforming heart pain by placing it near the manger! Hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

    • michele
      Author
      December 14, 2017 / 9:59 am

      Thank you for reading with such a lovely heart, Kathy. Merry Christmas to you and yours! 🙂

  6. December 13, 2017 / 7:50 am

    You have such a beautiful way with words my friend! Know that you’re not the only one feeling overwhelmed in TJ Maxx. It’s hard to measure up to the holiday ads I see on TV. My life isn’t that perfect ? But Bethlehem IS in our hearts and the light ALWAYS overcomes the darkness. xoxoxo

    • michele
      Author
      December 14, 2017 / 9:43 am

      It is so comforting to feel joined, and I honor you for doing this for me. Thanks for being a radiant source of light and encouragement, friend. xox

  7. Kristin Dimmich
    December 13, 2017 / 8:20 am

    Thank you for sharing your heart. I pray peace of our Savior Jesus for you during this season. I have always loved Christmas although because the passing of our oldest son several years ago I found it so difficult. Even though our holidays will be forever missing the one who is no longer with us, I have once again found the joy in the birth of our Lord. Having 2 little Grand boys helps with the joy as well! Peace to all your readers.

    • michele
      Author
      December 14, 2017 / 9:58 am

      Thank you for the loveliness of your vulnerability, Kristin. Thinking of you this very moment and praying that love will meet you just where you are in your grief and loss. I’m so encouraged by your words “once again found the joy in the birth” which is so life-giving and beautiful. So happy your grandchildren shine so much light in your darkness and sending peace to you and yours. 🙂

  8. susan
    December 13, 2017 / 9:05 am

    Oh my, you are richly blessed. God created you to do exactly what you are doing. Thank you for your honesty and for allowing the love of God to flow through you to others.
    May we all feel His glory and love during this Christmas season.
    Blessings to you and your family.
    Susan in MT (wintering in AZ)

    • michele
      Author
      December 14, 2017 / 9:44 am

      What kind words to share. I receive them as a precious gift, Susan. Peace and love to you, friend.

  9. Rhonda
    December 13, 2017 / 12:19 pm

    What a beautiful heart and soul you possess. And, how lucky we all are to gain inspiration from you. I tend to feel sadness at Christmas because I lost my mother December 27 of 2004. I still feel the sadness during the holidays after all this time. However, I try to remind myself how truly blessed I am, especially when I see all the devastation in California amid the fires. Thank you for reminding me once again of my blessings, of which I count you as one.

    • michele
      Author
      December 14, 2017 / 9:52 am

      Thank you for adding to the beauty by sharing your loss, Rhonda. Each Christmas I feel compelled to reach out to those who may have mixed feelings about the season – the emotions and excitement trigger painful memories in many of us and can cause us to feel alienated. I hope I can offer reminders and comfort that even though despair may be stirred up, we are NOT our feelings or thoughts, we are lovely souls experiencing them and need not feel shamed or damaged because of them. I am so grateful to have you following and uplifting me with your encouragement and light. xox

  10. December 13, 2017 / 12:30 pm

    What a beautiful post. Merry Christmas to you. And thank you.

    • michele
      Author
      December 14, 2017 / 10:07 am

      Thanks so much for reading and for your kindness. Merry Christmas, friend. 🙂

  11. Karen H.
    December 15, 2017 / 11:02 am

    Simply beautiful, Michele. You have a way of blessing others with your words of inspiration and encouragement. May you and yours feel the Peace of His Presence this season and all through the year. Blessings to you.

    • michele
      Author
      December 15, 2017 / 12:32 pm

      Thanks for your kind encouragement, Karen. Peace to you, and thank you for reading. xox

  12. dee
    December 20, 2020 / 5:52 am

    Thank you for your beautiful post. Blessings to you and your family.

    • Michele
      Author
      December 20, 2020 / 11:16 am

      Merci beaucoup – peace to you and yours this Christmas.

  13. Barbara
    December 20, 2020 / 1:20 pm

    Your generosity of spirit and love of beauty and grace is so calming and uplifting. Thank you for all you have done for your readers throughout this crazy year, while in the midst of your own turmoil. Wishing you and your family a wonderful year, filled with peace, improved health and respite from the storms. Blessings to you and yours.

    • Michele
      Author
      December 20, 2020 / 8:33 pm

      What a blessing your words are as they add beauty here and to my heart. Thank you for all of the support and encouragement. So grateful. xox

  14. December 21, 2020 / 1:41 pm

    Hi Michele, your words are so beautiful and tender. You touch everyone in your path❤️
    God bless you and your family this Christmas 🙏
    XOXO

    • Michele
      Author
      December 21, 2020 / 3:18 pm

      Thank you, Holly. Thank you for the lovely Christmas card and another year of friendship. It is such a pleasure to watch you on your artful journey and connect across the miles. Peace to you and Ron, and cheers to 2021!

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White Slipcovered Sofa
French Country Kubu Basket Set
Whitewashed Table Lamp Set of 2
Antique Chinese Wood Rustic Round Stool
French Country Bed
Tuscan Terracotta Urn Vase
Round Farmhouse Table
French Country Settee
Deconstructed Wingback Bed
French Farmhouse Dining Table
Milagro Heart
Slipcoverd Dining Chair
Rustic Farmhouse Stool
Edgecombe End Table
Silver Rectangle Accent Table
Black or Bronze Accent Table
30″ French Storage Basket
Chevron White Quilt Set
French Country Rattan Basket Set
Marble Subway Mosaic Tile (My Backsplash)
French Wire Laundry Basket
White Ruffle Bedding
White Linen Club Chair
Schumacher Wild Things Wallpaper
Wide Pine Sideboard
Linen Napkin Set
French Country Lamp Set
French Country Wall Mirror
French Lidded Baskets
Shaw Daybed
Distressed White French Country Chandelier
Distressed White Artichoke Lamp
French Country Headboard
Oval Back Counter Stool, Set of 2
Antique Brass Pharmacy Floor Lamp
Round French Tufted Ottoman
Kinston Wood Bench
Italian Candelabra Chandelier
Slope Arm Linen Chair Set
Warner Upholstered Bench
Rustic Country French Dresser
Rustic French Confit Pot
Round Farmhouse Dining Table
Reclaimed Wood Dresser
Louis Upholstered Bench
Pardon My French Doormat
Stripe Turkish Towel Throw
Pamela Arm Chair
Sweater Weave Basket
French Carved Wood Chandelier
Terracotta Pots & Basket
French Country Wood Chandelier
French Linen Dining Chair
Gustavian Cabinet
French Farmhouse Dining Table
Bar Stool
Beachy White Slipcovered Sofa
Rattan Armchair
Diptyque Oyedo Candle
Cross Back Dining Chair
French Country Candle Holder
French Industrial Metal Chairs (4)
Designer Favorite Wall Mirror
Holborn Lantern Pendant
French Country 6-Light Chandelier
Rustic End Table
French Country Upholstered Arm Chair
Wicker Trunk Set
French Ticking Stripe Pillow
Jute Area Rug
Mohair Throw
Rustic Industrial Farmhouse Shelves
Belgian Linen Sofa
White Duvet & Bedding
Rustic Wood Candlestick Set
French Market Basket
Linen Modern Wing Chair
French Country Farmhouse Baskets
Concrete Pillar Table Lamp
Boheme Madera Bench
Belgian Style Lamp
Kendall Skirted Dining Chair
White Charleston Sofa
Scrubbed Wood 5-Light Chandelier
Arched Champagne Wall Mirror
Moravian Star 1-Light Pendant
Highback Armchair
Mini Pendant Light
White Vase Set
Round Woven Placemat Set
Cashmere Throw With Fringe
Black Bergamot Soy Candle
Fireclay Farm Sink (Reinhard, 30″)
White Waffle Coverlet
Light Grey Vienna Quilt
Boheme Madera Bench
Belgian Linen Duvet Set
Round Marble Side Table
Rustic Pedestal Farm Table
Rattan Hanging Chair Swing