“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” 1 Peter 3:3-4
As I decorated my house for Christmas this year I had to fight some monsters. Their names? Newer, Better and Buy More. We had downsized to a new home and suddenly I wanted to go crazy buying decorations to adorn my tree, table, mantle, yard, door, … you name it. I saw others’ spectacular holiday decorations when I visited them or in pictures posted on Facebook, which made me want to do even more. The Greed Monster was awakened within me!
On a mid-December run to Hobby Lobby it was a real battle. I was going “just to get gift tags, tissue paper, and more tape.” But when I went in I couldn’t help handling all the pretty holiday decorations. It’s amazing how they come out with more cute things every year; surely companies could only re-invent Christmas decorations so many times! I managed to get out with just a couple of sale items more than what my list had called for. Whew!
As I sat at home with my tree twinkling, ready to wrap the rest of the presents, I began to wonder why I was so pulled to buy, buy, buy this year. I’ve puzzled over it for the last hour, and here I sit with some thoughts some of you may identify with.
First, I don’t want to look like a scrooge to new neighbors who have only known me five months. Second, Christmas is my favorite Holy Day. I love celebrating the birth of my Savior and want to focus all my energy toward making known the source of Christmas celebrations. Neither of those are bad reasons. But then there is my dirty little reason number three! It was revealed to me in my Bible reading.
Peter told us in the verse above that our outward adornment should not be our goal. For me, my home, as an extension of my personality, beliefs and family heritage, are included in that adornment. I’m instructed not to get too focused on clothes, adornments and all those finer things. But why does he say that? Are those things evil? No. But for at least one of us – ME – those things become a trap. They become the measuring stick I use on myself to see if I meet up to the criteria I feel society is expecting of me. This is the sad reason number three, those decorations are my means to getting compliments and strokes from folks that will make by heart swell with pride and joy.
Joy – that’s great. And PRIDE – ugh! My prideful heart seeks contentment from being seen and known and valued through those outer adornments, those glittery, sparkly trinkets. Things that can’t bring contentment.
If I go back to Peter’s words I find what can offer that contentment to my heart. I find what I should be adorning my home and self with is a beautiful inner self, unfading beauty that flows from a gentle and quiet spirit whose source is Father God Himself.
So if you can identify with my monsters or similar ones, join me in kneeling at a manger. Put the glitter and shine in the rearview mirror and meditate on the earthy sights and sounds of a Savior who came as a babe to redeem us from our sin. Turn to this Savior, Jesus, and His Word, and let yourself be adorned with the contentment, joy, and peace your heart yearns for. It is found only in Him, not in all that glitters.