There are just 16 days until Christmas arrives.

Are you ready to have a panic attack or does this heighten your anticipation?


Olive Wood Nativity :: Adore the Decor or Adore Him ::


Christmas looks different to all of us depending upon our circumstances.

I remember re-runs of an old PBS sitcom….”Keeping Up Appearances.”  The main character, Hyacinth Bucket, was overly concerned about looking good to the “important” people of  the world.  She wanted those of her “stature” in life or less, to see her as impeccable in every way, equal to those of wealth and high social standing.  She even went so far as to pronounce her last name as “bouquet” in a very affected voice.  The show focused on her escapades in keeping up this appearance of propriety and “place.”

You know….for many of us….Christmas is like that too.

Many times we are so concerned about the appearance of Christmas….entertaining, gifts, decor, etc., that we lose the importance of Christmas.  At the very least….there is a tension between the commercial and social aspect of the holiday and the true meaning of Christmas.

Just to set things straight…the very last thing I want to do is to guilt you.  That is the furthest thing from my mind.

This year as I sit in someone else’s home.  As I decorate someone’s tree.   I could very much get caught up in appearances and worry about what you will think of me.  It’s so easy to do.

But, that’s not good for either of us.


Home decor is a big part of what I write about here on the blog.  

I create and share my creations.  It’s something that I love to do.  I’m not Martha Stewart, but I do love the challenge of digging in and making something…often without spending a dime.  Or maybe just a dime.  My goal is to inspire you to look around at what’s available to you…in your home…in your yard…or along your hiking path…and use it to create something beautiful to enhance your home.

I’ve been managing to do that, while not living in my own home, for the past three months.

The day after Thanksgiving….it became more than difficult for me to do.  Emotions started rising to the surface.  I became aware that I was grieving.  Some days are very good and productive and some days are difficult.

Christmas started to look different to me.  I became aware of the “bleak midwinter” – though it officially isn’t even winter, yet.  As a gal who loves to decorate for Christmas in every room of the house and usually does so at a feverish pace, I am finding myself staring into the manger a bit more.

In the past I felt that my decorating was a form of worship.  A celebration of the greatest gift ever.  It was a time when my creativity soared.  And because God is so amazingly creative I really felt like I was blessing him.  I knew I might go a bit hog wild….but I thought it was okay in the light of all of this.


Adore the Decor or Adore Him :: Christmas Olivewood Nativity ::


An Extraordinary Day! is about inspiration.  Inspiring you to live a beautiful life.

As I sit here looking out at the snow gently drifting down on this incredibly gray day, I realize that if I only inspire you to feather your nest, I’m doing you a huge disservice.

There are plenty of blogs out there that have the latest, most cutting edge, most spectacular Christmas decor ideas imaginable.  In fact, there are virtual Christmas home tours, everyday for about three weeks, filled with houses stunningly decorated for the holidays, where you can feast your eyes and get 10 or 20 or 100 decorating ideas.  It’s all good.

But if we find ourselves in a whirlwind of going through the motions of “keeping up appearances” we lose.  If we do all these things to cover the pain we are in…be it illness or injury, grief through death or a severed relationship, unexpected financial or job loss, or even too many hours spent at work away from our families, we lose.   If our lives are such that everything is going well and every area of our life seems blessed and we buy even more gifts and entertain even more for appearance’s sake, we lose.

Does that mean I don’t think you should have fun decorating and giving gifts.  Absolutely not.

Whatever you choose to do….do it for your Savior.

Peer into that manger…

Recognize the most amazing gift ever given.

You see this holy perfect magnificent God humbled himself beyond imagination.  He allowed a part of himself to become fully human so that we could come to know him intimately.  To prove his love for us.


So what does all this have to do with decorating and giving gifts?

Somewhere in the mix, I managed to adore my decor more than the gift in the manger.

I lost out on the best of Christmas.

The best of Christmas is in the chorus of an old Christmas hymn (O Come All Ye Faithful) which we quietly sing until it crescendos…

O come, let us adore Him,

O come, let us adore Him,

O come, let us adore Him,

Christ, the Lord.


This year…instead of thinking about the next cute thing that we can do for our Christmas decor, or create for a gift, or whip up in the kitchen…think about The Gift.

Think about what kind of being this God is…this creator of all…the author and finisher of life…that he would humble himself because of his great love for us.

Yes…we do need a heart of gratitude and words of thankfulness on our lips.

Even more….we need a heart of awe and adoration.

Maybe these words from C. S. Lewis say it better…

Gratitude exclaims, very properly, “How good of God to give me this.”
Adoration says, “What must be the quality of that Being whose far-off and
momentary coruscations are like this!” One’s mind runs back up the sunbeam to the sun. . . .


Let Us Adore Him :: Adore the Decor or Adore Him ::


Whatever you do this season of Advent and Christmas my friend….do it for the glory of God…not for appearances.

Ultimately….the very best way that we can do that…is to give HIM our hearts.

Oh come, let us adore Him.


Oh…YES, I will still be sharing Christmas decor ideas….because it is my art and I have been created to create….for HIS glory.


Thank you for stopping by today.

I appreciate you and your sweet comments make my day.


Come, let us adore HIM,


P.S. For those inquiring minds….the Nativity is olive wood and was purchased in Old Jerusalem.

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  1. Great post! The other day, I had my family over to eat and then decorate Christmas cookies. At the close of the day some of them were still here but I had to make a run to the store for dog food. As I was scraping 1 1/2 inches of ice off of my car, our local crazy guy came by. He is an old war vet and he walks about 50 miles per day…that is all that he does. To and fro from our neighborhood to the next town and back and then he does it all over again. I asked if he’d like some cookies. I ran into the house to get them…and told him to come on up but he tipped his hat and stayed at the porch steps. I put some cookies into a bag and explained to my son and the kids what was going on. When I gave him the cookies, 5 little kids, 8 and under, were on the porch waving ‘hi’ and saying “Merry Christmas” / it is the simplest things in life sometimes 🙂

    • Diane says

      Thank you for sharing your touching story Deb.
      Yes…it is the littlest of things that are the biggest blessings.
      And you can make sure that your little ones will remember this kind gesture and follow in your footsteps.
      [hugs] and blessings…

  2. judianni says

    Bless you for your sweet words today. We do get so busy doing that often we forget the meaning. I’ve often wondered what God thinks when He looks down at all the colored twinkling lights and the stressful event we’ve turned this Holy Season into. Too often we’re just to busy to squeeze in the Christmas Eve church service. Makes me sad.

    • Diane says

      Yes…I think it makes him sad knowing that we are settling for second best when we actually think quite the opposite.
      Thanks Judianni for your thoughtful words.
      May your Advent be filled with joyful anticipation.

  3. Betty Brown says

    Beautiful post and it made me think about why I do what I do at Christmas.More than anything this time of year and all through the year making Christ first in everything I do.I love this time of year but if Jesus had not came there would be no Christmas. Blessings to you.

    • Diane says

      Thank you for your kind words Betty. 🙂
      You know…it’s so easy for us to do, do, do….when God wants us to simply be.
      Why is it so hard for us to ‘get’ this?
      May your Advent be filled with wonder and joy as you anticipate.

  4. Glenda Kremer says

    Have you seen all my nativities that I’ve posted pics of! I did not count this year but my house has over 50 nativities in it–every room where people go at least one if not more nativities in it! all 3 Christmas trees have upside down Candy Canes “J” for Jesus. I just posted the Candy Cane Story if interested!
    Glenda K

    • Diane says

      Glenda….I did a few. I think it’s wonderful how you decorate your house so beautiful with nativities and candy canes. 😉
      May your Advent be filled with awe and anticipation.

  5. Gwen says

    I’m sick with the flu for days. I’ve fallen. I’m just sick as all my family have been and now hubby. I glance today at a few blogs. I enjoyed spending months preparing for gifts and a house party and it all was done… But I’m just so sick its hard to concentrate on anything. And so I say, take joy in the days God gives you to take delight within. They are his gift. Being creative. Wearing a pretty outfit. But as those days draw to an end I say Lord thank you I had pretty shoes. I was lame and I’m walking better again with my foot brace and new special shoes. Since cardiac arrest a white fog would cover my eyes and come and go. I could not see. I cried. I’m blind and lame. My glasses broke. I put on an old pair. I can see again. These are joys too. But I do like to remember this season of decorating from things I have ( my boxes have not been down in several years due to spouses sickness) but I talk to my Lord as I created away using my Dads things from his darning suitcase. So no it’s not wrong to prepare my home for Him but its wrong if I’m trying to outdo HoneySugarCoat down the way! I’ve never copied someone’s style so its just whatever comes to me!!! I continue to share verses prayer and Jesus as I wait for another MRI test last Thursday. Every week is something. So the candles and lights and winter decor makes me happy as I remember and pray for family and friends. Yes I long for how it was. Family huge gatherings. Friends getting together. Going to church programs. But I’ve done that. Now its time to discover a new kind of a unique kind of Christmas worship.

    • Diane says

      “Now its time to discover a new kind of a unique kind of Christmas worship.” So beautifully said, Gwen.
      You know…that just might be the very best worship. And the kind that beckons others to join you as you gaze upon the manager.
      I’m so sorry for your setback….it is so hard when we are asking and believing for God’s best. But…I will keep trusting with you and praying for you, my friend. [hugs]

  6. Suzi says

    Diane, I am sorry you are feeling the sadness of grieving. And you have every right to feel that way as you have suffered lose and injustice. Of course, I know you know there is no way around it, only through it. Our household is grieving loss this year too. Like you, we are thankful for having had God’s generous gifts and saddened because we have lost some. This is a great title and post to remind us why we do what we do and I agree with you that we show honor to Him when we decorate and offer hospitality this season. It’s all about balance isn’t it? Last year, after 40+ years of decorating I decided to invite Him to join me in the fun and it was the best, least stressed filled, decorating marathon of my adult life. This year as I recover from surgery i am not able to do it but my husband brought home his mother’s decorations and is placing them around our home. So i, too, am decorating for Christmas with someone else’s decorations! (Even though I am in my own home 🙂 And the only really significant decoration is the nativity.

    • Diane says

      Suzi…you are a blessing. [hugs] Thank you for your words of encouragement. I pray that your recovery is full and rapid and that in the midst of a ‘different’ kind of Christmas you are blessed by the Lord in a new and fresh way. [hugs]

  7. Mel says

    I, for one, will point out that you don’t simply inspire me to “feather my nest”. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy your creativity…hugely so. But I’ve never left here ‘divorced’ from my G-d and focused on glitter and glitz. Fact is, I think the opposite happens. I leave here more ‘grounded’ in my relationship and more attuned to the principles I’m commited to live.

    Ya know, we grieve in our own way, in our own time…and the only way past it really is through it. (If you discover a different way, bottle it and sell it!!) Sadness is okay. I’ve got a few losses that I get to wade through, too. I’m graced a thousand fold, but life still holds loss….for all of us.
    No matter the holiday, no matter the culture, no matter the richness in the rituals or the presence or absence of ‘stuff’…. the celebration in the heart FROM the heart is our gift to our Maker. That’s what decorates my soul.

    Praying….hoping….holding you and yours in my thoughts.

    • Diane says

      Mel….I know you really mean what you just wrote…but I am so very humbled by your words. I give this my best, yet often I feel like I’m just, well, so…ordinary. So very ordinary. And that I’m short on inspiration. And through the hurdles of these challenges….I trudge….through “the mud” just hoping that just maybe there will be something here that’s worthwhile. And you say this. [hugs]

      Ha! “Bottle it and sell it!” Oh that makes me grin. I have to say that I have lived a very blessed life. Sure there were plenty of challenges…but we always will say that life has been unfair in our favor. I’ve spent too many years thinking that living well would make the road smoother and sunnier and…I know you get it. And that living for God will make this even more so. People who have spoken or written those words are liars. Big ginormous ones. I have learned a lot in the past 3 and a half years. Good stuff. Stuff I’m glad that I’ve walked this path in order to learn. But, not fun. I’m a better person for it all.
      And I want to stay the course. 😉 I know you understand.

      “the celebration in the heart FROM the heart is our gift to our Maker. That’s what decorates my soul.” — Those words. So beautiful. And though they bless HIM…they have blessed me too. Thanks dear wise friend. [hugs]

  8. Your post has touched my heart tonight.

    • Diane says

      That means so much to me, Bonnie. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate knowing that. [hugs]

      May your season of Advent be filled with awe and anticipation.

  9. What a great post Diane ! Sometimes we do forget what is the true meaning of Christmas. I do remember when I was growing up. My family didn’t have any fancy decorations not even a Charlie Brown tree 🙂 It was a very simple celebration we’d just go to church on Christmas Eve and Christmas day. There was no gift too. We’d just focus on having each other and the reason of celebration on the very simple dinner table.

    • Diane says

      Thank you Marlin…
      Maybe you were blessed with your simple celebration as a child more than you can ever know.
      You are so kind to take time to share your lovely story.

      May your Advent be filled with wonder and anticipation. [hugs]

  10. Judy says

    I appreciated your thoughts, Diane. Blessings on you, friend.

  11. Kathy says

    What a blessing to read this today! Thanks for the reminder. May God richly bless you!

    • Diane says

      Kathy…your words are like honey. Thank you so much for stopping by.
      May your Advent be filled with wonder and awe. 🙂

  12. Such a wonderful post! It filled me with inspiration!
    Im new to your blog, Im a new follower from “Thursday Favorite Things”. =)

    • Diane says

      Melissa…I am truly humbled and blessed that it was inspiring to you.
      Thank you for following along here. I’m so grateful for you and hope to get to know you more.

  13. We have a beautiful nativity scene and since I was a little girl my mom would cover baby Jesus with cotton until Christmas morning. My sister and I would argue over who got to uncover Him on His birthday! Thanks for sharing this!

    • Diane says

      Lisa…that is the sweetest story. I can picture you and your sister each wanting to uncover baby Jesus.
      Thank you so much for sharing.
      Wishing you and yours a most joyous Christmas season.

  14. So glad I read this post. You really did a great job emphasizing the importance of Christmas. I get tired of people saying Christmas is about . . . “family” or “togetherness.” Those things are a byproduct of the REAL meaning – the birth of Christ. It’s going to take many of us to say, “Focus people!” to give perspective to a beautiful time of the year.

    Good for you!

    • Diane says

      Yes, Hope…those are wonderful byproducts of the most amazing love gift ever.
      Thanks for your words of encouragement. You have no idea how much I appreciate it.
      May your Advent be filled with awe and anticipation.

  15. Sandi says

    Diane, most years I go all out and decorate every room in the house. It’s different this year because I am nursing my back that I injured almost a year ago. This year I’m only doing a little decorating because of that. My home doesn’t have the usual ‘Sandi’ sparkle. But you know what? That’s OK because it’s more important that I take care of myself. I will be more of a blessing to the Lord and my family and friends if I take care. Jesus came so that we could live a happy life honouring and blessing Him and others. It’s more important that my home is Christ centered, not filled with ‘sparkle’ that is put away in boxes again once the New Year arrives. Thanks for a wonderful post and sharing it at my HOME.

    Christmas blessings,

    • Diane says

      Sandi…you are so right…you do need to take good care of yourself and Christmastime will be so much more special for you and your family and friends when YOU are feeling good, too. You know…the most sparkly house can be quite dull without the heart and passion for the meaning of the season. Yours is going to offer peace most of all.
      Wishing you and yours the most blessed and joyous Christmas. 🙂

  16. Ahh! My sentiments exactly! It has been a whirlwind of activity on blogs with bigger and bigger parties that are all equally amazing but, yes …Let Us Adore Him. Such a great post. Thanks for joining Home Sweet Home and Merry Christmas!

    • Diane says

      Sherry…you have no idea how encouraging your words are today.
      Thank you!!
      A JOYous Christmas wish for you…

  17. Thanks for sharing your post with the HomeAcre Hop.
    The Nativity is always my favorite “Christmas Decoration”

  18. Kattrinka says

    Lovely, lovely, perfect, precious sentiments, THE reason for our season. Have a Blessed Christmas Diane.

    • Diane says

      Thank you so much Kattrinka!
      My Christmas was so very blessed and I hope yours was too. 🙂
      Wishing you a Joy-filled New Year!!

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