Apr 8, 2016

Decorating and the Christian Home

 By Marie MacPherson

I spent the six years before I married in eight different (rowdy, impersonal, worn-down) dorm rooms. So, when I moved into my first home as an adult with my new husband, you can imagine how thrilled I was to give it a homey and feminine touch!

Have you ever stopped to consider that it is a privilege of your vocation to decorate your home? Beauty and order in the home are reflections of God’s character (1 Corinthians 14:40; Psalm 104:1). As a feminine influence in our family, we can make our earthly homes a small shadow of the Heavenly home waiting for us all after death.

For purposes of this article, the ‘home decorating’ to which I’m referring is not spending lots of money of stylish tassels, sewing your own tapestries, or even crocheting doilies to adorn your coffee table (though if you can do that—awesome!). I specifically mean ordering the sights and sounds of your home to have a Christian ambiance. We’re not talking about color schemes or styles or approval from Martha Stewart. We’re just brainstorming ideas about how to use our God-given space to remind us of His promises. Home decorating isn’t something we “must” do, as if it is a commentary on our faith,  but it is something we can do, each with our own unique strengths and gifts. Tastes, of course, will vary.

Did you know the Israelites were home decorators? (I can’t posit that they were “Christian home decorators,” because, you know, they were Jews...!) Deuteronomy 6 gives details about Moses instructing the Israelites in God’s commands. They were to write them on the door frames of their homes and on their gates. Why would they do that? Why not in their dining rooms, instead? Think of how often they would travel into and out of their homes—probably dozens of times a day! They may not have had access to the Torah or scrolls in their homes, so they were able to remind themselves of God’s word by printing it out and visually meditating on it. Nowadays, we’re under no command to etch Bible passages on our door jambs or garages, but there are lots of modern analogous ideas listed below.

In Titus 2, Paul gives directives for older Christian women. They are to mentor younger women in many home-related activities. This is a little speculative, but I can imagine those older women helping the young moms establish routines and visual reminders that centered on their faith. Even young children who cannot yet read can recall God’s promises when they see a cross or a picture of Jesus. Thus, Christian home decorating can serve as a way to disciple our children and teach them of their sins and their Savior.

Decorating our homes is also a way in which we can speak our faith silently. Matthew 5:16 says that Christians should let their light shine so others will glorify God through our actions. When you practice hospitality, your home is seen by others, even if Christ does not directly come into the conversation. Think not only of those entering your home, but also of impressions that others will have who pass by or near your home every day. The mailman? Commuters? The neighbors? The UPS guy?

God is creative, and He has built that design into each of us to some extent. In the beginning, He spoke and the world came into being. It still gives testimony to His creative handiwork (Romans 1:20). Of course, our decorating skills do not in any way contribute to our justification; you still have Jesus’ full and free salvation even if you never hang a cross on your wall! But it is stimulating to imagine now that Jesus has lived a perfect life in our place, died the death we should have died, and risen again-- He is now preparing a perfect mansion for us in Heaven! How’s that for inspiration?!

What are some Christian home decoration ideas?

You should really change everything in your home to art deco with a touch of traditional minimalist. Just kidding! Here are some faith-based decoration ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

The Essentials:
·         A Cross or Crucifix: We have ours as the centerpiece of our family room. The children love to help change the colored fabric swag that hangs from it based on the season of the church year.
·         A Reminder of Baptism: Whether this is a picture of a shell, a framed baptismal napkin, a baptismal certificate, or one of those crosses with an itty-bitty kneeling child on it, these are a beautiful reminder that “we were therefore buried with [Jesus] through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life” (Romans 6:4).
·         A Scripture Verse: Find a work of art or make a poster with a Gospel- or family-oriented Bible verse. It will be something your children or family members will fondly remember as they age. If you are at a loss, John 3:16 is a great one!

Additional Ideas:
·         Family Altar Board: Consider a Family Altar Board and the routines that go with it for your home.
·         Stenciling: Is there an empty space in your home that could use a little Scripture? Mad Stencilist can custom design any Scripture or inspirational phrases you’d like to fit in any space. How about your wedding verse in your bedroom, a night-time hymn in the nursery, or a table prayer in your dining room?
·         ‘Sharpie’ Your Home: Consider adding a relevant Bible verse with a Sharpie marker to an object in your home. Maybe “O, taste and see that the Lord is good” to the coffee maker, or “Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven” on a piggy bank.
·         Artwork:What will others remember about your home? Would it be nice to add some Scripture or Bible history posters? (Many Christian posters tend to be law heavy; use your judgment.) Perhaps for the next holiday, you could request a gift from your parents or relatives of a traditional piece of art like the Road to Emmaus, or Jesus Blesses Children.
·         Children’s Crafts: Maybe your children would enjoy using fabric markers to decorate a pillowcase with a comforting Scripture verse or hymn. Perhaps you could spend some time making an Easter banner with them that could be reused every year. If you Google “liturgical crafts for kids,” you’ll find a plethora of ideas (and don’t even get me started on Pinterest)! If you don’t have children of your own, perhaps there are a few from your congregation or neighborhood you could invite over to help you create!
·         Nature: Bring God’s creation from the outdoors indoors! For me, this is done by occasionally buying a few flowers from the store, but many of you artsy-types could do a lot with pine boughs, roses, and cornucopias.
·         Adult Crafts: If you can sew, it opens a whole other world of decorating if you can find Christian-themed fabrics! Consider making an apron, table linens, curtains, etc. with Christian message or symbols. Or how about cross-stitch or other needle arts? I have a treasured cross-stitch with my confirmation verse that my mother spent years on, praying for me while she worked.
·         Music: Don’t forget the power of music in setting a tone for your home: hymns on the piano, CDs in the CD player, or a great Pandora station! We especially love Kirk Meyer’s hymn CDs and CPH’s Sing the Faith.

Decorating Outside the Home:
·         Holiday Decoration: Christmas decorations can be a great way to witness to the whole neighborhood! A nativity in your front yard? A seasonal message attached to your garage? A large garden flag with the true meaning of the holiday hung on your front door? Ditto with Easter (except for the nativity scene part).
·         Personal Items: Even beyond the four walls of your home, what might others notice as you “go out”? A Scripture on your checkbook case? A cross pin on your jacket? Your bumper sticker? Maybe it can strike up a conversation about Christ.

We’d love to hear your additional ideas in the comments below. Again, I’m not trying to start a contest; it’s not about spending the most money on designer Christian décor from an interior design store (though I do encourage you to support Hobby Lobby)! Make your home for our Savior’s glory using your God-given resourcefulness and creativity. And maybe even a Sharpie.

A few years back, we went through a summer-long process of renovating our kitchen. While we were at it, I found a few places in our dining room and entryway to add some Scripture. Our children loved the idea and were very eager to discuss the additions. They also loved the idea of our home being a witness to those in our midst. The renovation had only been complete a few weeks when I took the children into the front yard with some new sidewalk chalk. The next thing I knew, the children had each chosen a Bible passage that they wanted to write out on the driveway and sidewalk and were asking me to help them spell the tricky words. They wanted the mailman and the schoolchildren who walk by our home daily to see the passages. What a beautiful witness--until it rained! But the idea of decorating for the Lord is still imprinted on their hearts. To this day, they frequently add, “Jesus loves you!” to their rainbows and castles in the driveway and at the park.



***


Marie is wife to Ryan, homeschooling hausmutter to their five living children, and redeemed child of God. She used to actively participate in theater, debate team, choir, and international travel, but realizes now that those were merely a foretaste of the joys of her current vocation: managing children’s dramatics, arbitrator of kids’ arguments, singing hymns and lullabies, and sharing unbelievable mission stories. When she’s not caring for her own children, Marie reads extensively, researching natural health, marriage, and parenting. She is the editor of the upcoming book Mothering Many: Sanity-Saving Strategies from Moms of Four or More. Follow her blog at: www.intoyourhandsllc.com/blog.

4 comments:

  1. We received a beautiful cross around the time of our wedding and it sits in my coffee "shrine" with my keurig and coffee mugs. I am a big fan of English countryside color and decorating schemes and the cross is ivory and green and is the perfect stand out accent for my weary pretty coffee eyes in the morning.

    ReplyDelete
  2. We were surprised when we reached our parsonage to have in our kitchen/dining room area custom tiles that make up a Luther's Rose.

    My mother-in-law made for me a felt banner (like hers) that says "I am Jesus' Little Lamb" at the tip. Beneath are felt lambs with each of our names written on and our baptism dates. Great reminders!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Related to the baptismal certificate idea (and I love seeing framed baptismal certificates--some of the old ones from people's family history, especially, are fascinating and beautiful) is the idea of hanging a framed, decorative marriage certificate. It's not a bad reminder.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Another thing that has been a blessing for me was getting a set of spiral-bound note cards. I've added my favorite Bible passages or quotations from Christian theologians over the years. (It's always a "treasure-hunt" to find something to add!) I keep it by my sink and try to remember to flip it when I do the dishes in the evening. My older children have started this, too. It's not so much decorative (although if you doodle well or have fancy handwriting, it could be!), but a great way to see God's promises every day.

    ReplyDelete

Please note: Comments are moderated and will appear on the blog once we've had a chance to approve them.

Thanks for joining the conversation!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...