Happy Fall! In social media marketing internetland Fall can only mean one thing. The holidays must be near. And I resent being part of the mad rush but feel clueless as to how I might bypass the system. It takes folks six weeks on average to discover content on Pinterest that carries them here. Pre-Holiday Reflections With Calm & Gentle Holiday Decor will highlight peaceful, understated, less glitzy moments of the soul and in the home. This fall, I wish you plenty of slow. Unrushed, sweetly hushed, comforting moments of sacred stillness and sacred slow. Whether we spend it serving others, reading, lost in music, or outdoors beholding creation, may we open new eyes to see through any bitterness. Because if our gaze is a divine gaze, all will be transformed.
Pre-Holiday Reflections With Calm & Gentle Holiday Decor
Poetry from Mary Oliver
Praying by Mary Oliver
It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch
a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway
into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.
From: Thirst: Poems
Natural evergreens and white? Still a combination that feels magical.
I had lots to say about decorating with white in THIS, and snowy white collections seem to transform a space into sanctuary.
And when the white treasures are vintage? They tell a story and evoke a particular sort of calm that also feels humble and nostalgic.
How is it that we forget this formula for joy above?
I love Mercury glass all year, but during the holidays with flickering candles? Oh, my.
Just In Case You Wish to Cross Holiday Shopping Off the List
The leaves are still clinging to the trees where I live, yet even now I am thinking about their winter silhouettes to come. How they will grow bare and be vulnerable to winter’s cold. How the snow will dress them in white and they will sleep even as creatures curl up for warmth in their hearts.
And the thought of the season’s change is suddenly a holy thought, not a source of dread.
All White Decor & a White Christmas
When holiday decorations are kept natural and simple, they can linger a bit longer.
And I’m still waiting for “airy winter decorating” to go viral. Instead of lots of layers of warm colors, I’d welcome more wispy fairy light strings, evergreen boughs in simple clear glass vases, and bits of lace kissing the windows.
It’s a subjective matter. With all of winter’s darkness, I am always interested in capturing more light and lightness inside.
Is there anything as beautiful as winter whites?
Nordic Holiday Ideas
I’m always in awe at how folks find the energy and motivation to deck their porches and exteriors during the holidays.
I find the task challenging and intimidating.
But it’s such a charitable gesture for neighbors and visiting guests.
Maybe my lack of motivation is a result of working from home. I can imagine if I was constantly commuting and returning home that the sight of glowing lights near our door, near the doors of others, would feel warmly welcome.
My parents always added incredibly cozy touches to our home during the holidays – candles in the windows and deliciously fragrant fresh wreaths. Their busy lives of service took them beyond our door and into dim corners. The need for home to be a source of restoration was very strong.
And just today I was reflecting on how I long for a slower lifestyle.
As I was out and about running errands today, no one at all seemed to honor slow. Our attention spans and tolerance levels are so small. Impatience is everywhere. Folks feel entitled to speedy everything.
Is this longing for slow within me what influences my decorating more than anything? Am I seeking to paint pictures of what my soul hungers for?
European Country Inspired White Christmases
It’s funny. Most people don’t want to rush into thoughts of the holidays because it stresses them. But isn’t it simply the commercial holiday that triggers stress?
How can we stretch out holy days of the season so rushing is unnecessary and unwanted? How can we open to something new which gifts us all a bit more joy to ‘prepare more room in our hearts?’
I don’t have quippy answers.
But right where I am, I think it begins as an inside job, this slowing.
How can I become slower to anger, slower to react, slower to impatience, slower to violence, slower to judge, slower to condemn?
How can I slow the automatic responses and reactivity and practice mindful living as a more peaceful source of love in the world?
Heaven and Nature
While it isn’t a Christmas hymn, “Sunrise” points us skyward.
We’re treated to a breathtaking sunrise in Jordan, and your heart may be transformed when the strings emerge at 1:45. Then, at around 5:20 when the vocalist breaks into a lovely refrain in Arabic:
‘Cause when I’m hurt
Then I’ll go to your church
‘Cause when I’m hurt
Then I’ll go to your church
Well, it reaches into a corner of darkness and brings a deeply holy, deeply healing sunlight.
As I type these words, the sun has yet to rise. Thoughts of preparing my heart – clearing away the clutter of worry, fear, regret, and despair – seem appropriate just now and in the busy weeks to come.
Last Christmas, I put my own spin on “Oh Come All Ye Faithful” and shared a bit of it to my personal FB page. I can hardly play chords on the piano, and I don’t even enunciate the lyrics, but I think you know them:
Let every heart prepare him room, and heaven and nature sing, and heaven and nature sing. Oh come let us adore Him – oh come let us adore Him – oh come let us adore Him – Christ the Lord.
I don’t know much of anything at all.
But surely the peace and calm of holiday cheer starts with the eyes and ears of my heart, attuned to the strains of heaven hidden in nature.
How Will We Savor the Season
Just now, before the chill comes, I am collecting bits of soft holiday gentleness.
I’m remembering that creating gentle places to live, to grow, to laugh…
starts with heartful intention and gentleness inside.
And I’m also remembering that longing–however pure–will remain simply longing without motion, without embodied living.
And these thoughts are sobering.
If only because they point to the need to rise to a level of maturity our culture seems to resist.
A culture that would prefer we stay small, childish, and full of striving. So much of my striving is done for the sake of “someday when things slow down.” But “things” never do seem to lose momentum…
and striving has such a steep cost to my physical, mental, and spiritual health.
Oh, let me strive less. Let me welcome all that is slow not for another place, not for another time.
Let me slow my strivings enough to honor the peace arising in the moment now, right here, fresh as the first snow, fresh as a new babe from heaven.
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Peace to you right where you are.
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