Last month, in an effort to spruce up my home for the new year, I joined a list to receive a daily housecleaning task e-mail. As I dutifully vacuumed out the couch and fluffed the cushions, I found a Playmobil sword, a plastic googly eye, a twisty tie, two paperclips, 37 cents, and three dirty tissues. On my way to throw them away, I stepped on some spilled cereal and cleared a forgotten bowl from the table, which reminded me that I hadn’t unloaded the dishwasher yet, and someone had left dirty dishes stacked on the counter instead of putting them in the sink.
It feels almost impossible to get ahead of life’s little messes.
When things in our homes fall apart with the living of daily life, it’s easy to throw up our hands in frustration. Real life doesn’t often resemble the cover of Better Homes and Gardens. But the impulse to make our homes more beautiful is a holy one. God, who created beauty itself, designed us to appreciate beautiful things. Humans are wired to desire lovely surroundings, because we long to be with God in Heaven, in the courts of the Lord.
Today we hear Psalm 84 speak of the yearning of pilgrim Israelites to journey to Jerusalem and be with God in His temple, the very temple built by Solomon as a dwelling place for God on earth. Its splendor was beyond compare. To read the description of the ornate carvings and beautiful metalwork detailed in 1 Kings is to realize that modern buildings are rarely built with such care and thoughtful detail.
Our homes are dwelling places for God in a different sense. As domestic churches, our homes are the places where we experience God in community—in our families, together with those who share our table (whether by invitation or because it’s their table, too). We probably can’t make them into temples on the scale of Solomon. But knowing that God intends to dwell with us in our homes, in the midst of our daily lives, inspires me to want to make a few changes—to be more intentional about incorporating beauty into my home, to make things the best they can be . . . and to occasionally vacuum out the couch cushions.
What touch of beauty can you add to your surroundings this week as a reminder of God’s lovely dwelling place and His presence with us, daily, in our lives?
Abbey Dupuy is the Assistant Theological Editor for Blessed is She and writes her life as a homeschooling mama of four frequently barefoot children. She muses about imperfect parenting, practicing gratitude, and celebrating the liturgical year with her young family on her blog. In her spare time, she enjoys running, gardening, coffee, and cookbooks, not usually at at the same time. You can find out more about her here.