“Christmas-time” is widely complained about as the most stressful time of year by the average citizen of the Empire. Feminine women fret about “creating memories,” and hosting the “perfect holiday party.” We seek to make our homes welcoming to visitors, and to create scenes of beauty within that serve as a palliative and a rebuke to the brutality outside.

Hostessing anxiety, if borne out of love rather than vanity, can indeed bear good fruits to those assembled to eat and drink—ones essential for the transmission of civilization. (As a man tends to the infrastructure, a woman tends to manners.) But how are we to fulfill our homemaking impetus without becoming too worldly?

Many reactionaries grew up as latchkey children, children of divorce, or worse; living in homes with working parents that were impoverished of love and stability. We learned to idealize the traditional family that we never had, in all of its warmth and protection. For those of us from this background, it is easy to turn the family—and family occasions—into idols. However, it is not enough that there be a happy family, or a beautiful home: all must be oriented to Christ, or all will come to naught.

Beauty helps us understand ourselves spiritually, and signifies a higher order. The harmonious accord of the eye and the spirit exercises a transformative and transcendent impression on the beholder—attesting to the reality of the sacred. But beauty for its own sake, denuded of any sacramental significance, is only vanity. We need look no further than Lucifer for proof of this. Anxiously coveting the seasonal cable throws, scalloped dinner plates, the seeded eucalyptus garlands, the barn wood picture frames, and the lace table runner, we are ironically led astray from our purpose of creating a beautiful interior.

As we appoint our homes with lovely details and prepare to serve our guests, we should never forget the Guest we are truly awaiting. In the secular world’s season of consumerism, let us honor the Advent of our Lord, who was humbly received upon a manger of oxen’s hay. Let us pray to prepare our homes from pure joy, not as slaves to our own visions—how poor a posture this would be when we should be celebrating the arrival of our liberator, Jesus Christ!

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