December 11, 2019

Christmas Amid Renovations by Carol Harrison

It's past time to put up the small Christmas tree that usually adorns our living room. The ornaments that grace its branches reflect the nativity story but they are still packed in their storage containers waiting to be freed from captivity for a few weeks. The nativity set, well multiple ones, also remain hidden away but I wish they could find a place to sit and remind us of the reason we celebrate the season. The various pieces of everyday decor still sits out instead of switching places with the
Christmas season pieces because there is no room to make those transitions.

Instead my living room, dining area and even bedroom and deck have an assortment of boxes, bags and tubs full of kitchen gadgets, dishes and utensils waiting for their new home in new cupboards. Things we still might need to make a few meals during kitchen renovations grace my dining room table. I can't imagine bringing more tubs of Christmas decorations into this chaos and so they stay hidden away.

How can I host Christmas even if the renovations get completed just in time? After all I won't have my home decorated for the season. The reorganizing all the cupboards and rooms might not be finished so how can we prepare the meal and serve the family? These questions run through my mind and I have a hard time focusing on what I can do instead of what might be difficult.

As I prepared to write this blog, I began to think about that first Christmas in Bethlehem. Mary gave birth to Jesus, our Saviour, in a stable. With Joseph and maybe animals to attend the birth, she wrapped him in strips of cloth and laid him in the manger. Their visitors were shepherds who came running in from the fields dressed in their sweaty work clothes. But they fell down and worshiped this new-born king because they believed what the angel told them.

Mary had no time to prepare for company. She had no pretty decorations, not even her own home that night. She had no family and friends no fancy wrapped presents and no gourmet meal. Yet it was a night like no other, filled with wonder and angel's songs. God's gift to us arrived that night in humble circumstances and the shepherds, whose testimony was not accepted in a court,  heard the good news first. They responded at once as they rushed to worship Jesus and then told everyone what they had seen and heard.

Can I celebrate amid the chaos of renovation? Can we celebrate Jesus as our Saviour when life hurts and tough things mount up or we suffer a loss? Can we celebrate without all the trappings which I do enjoy? The answer in my heart is a resounding yes even when my head wants to decorate, plan and remain in my comfort zone of tradition.

What will I do to have my heart's yes translate to daily life during this season of my life? I must begin with remembering the reason for the celebration called Christmas and I find that in the pages of Scripture. " But the angel said to them, 'Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.' Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests" Luke 2:10-14 Reading the Bible can happen even in the middle of renovation and lack of decorations.

I love Christmas carols especially the old ones that remind me of the birth of Jesus and why he came. There are other, newer songs that also encourage me, help me remember and are part of Christmas traditions I can still enjoy for songs can fill the house with beauty in spite of the mess.

While I wait for new cabinets and a functioning kitchen, I can still visit friends and family even if it is at their place. One of my children can host the meal if it will not work here and we can enjoy food, fellowship and even a present or two. I just need to take it one day at a time while I praise God for the gift of His Son. 

I pray that God might renovate my heart so I can respond like the shepherds on that first Christmas night and rush to be with Jesus and then be excited to tell others of the reason we have to celebrate.
"So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.. . . . the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen , which were just as they had been told." Luke 2-16-18, 20 NIV

Yes the chaos of renovation happens to change a few plans. For some a loss, financial problems, broken relationships or illness hamper the glimpses of joy and dampen the feelings of celebration. But may we rush to Jesus just as we are, broken, tired, happy, or sad and give him our hearts and lives. May our worship cause others to be amazed as we glorify God for all he still does today.

Carol lives in Saskatoon. She loves to tell stories and even writes some of them down. She has published two books and has stories published in sixteen anthologies. Carol also loves to help others in their journey as they discover glimpses of hope and glimmers of joy.


  1. I love this post, Carol. it reminds us of what is truly important. I have had a few Christmas's in my past where I have gotten stressed out because everything wasn't perfect or prepared the way I wanted it to be, but then, when i look back, those aren't the things that make it special. it's the people, right? God bless you as you live through this reno!

  2. You know I understand, Carol. We're not decorating, either, because of ongoing renovations. As I told my daughter, this year we'll celebrate what Jesus gave up to be born in a stable as well as family time together. It will be a Christmas to remember.

    1. Yes that is a lovely way to put it Kathleen - celebrate what Jesus gave up for us.

  3. I love your statement, "I pray that God might renovate my heart..." It's important to remember that Jesus is the real reason we celebrate Christmas, and all the trimmings and trappings of the season are not really what it's all about. I hope your renovations will soon be completed, and I wish you and your family a wonderful Christmas.

  4. Thanks for your interesting post, Carol. How beautifully you tied together the theme of renovating your home to renovating your heart. God bless you this Christmas!


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