More than Décor

At Christmas time this year, two friends and I toured a dozen rich homes, including high-rise apartments, in a nearby city. The dwellings stunned us with plush furnishings, artwork, and innovative features in the kitchens and baths. But some of the modern décor repelled us: it was hard, cold and uninviting. Other luxurious features defied touch and feel. Pondering our experience on the way home, we agreed something was missing.

I then recalled an experience a few years back. A French couple visited a typical middle-class home in our area, part of an exchange vacation plan. Their hosts spoke almost no French and the French couple, little English. But through gestures and smiles, they succeeded in communicating.

At the end of the couple’s visit, a local reporter asked them for an interview. As a French speaker, I was called to interpret and fielded many questions and answers. Finally, the French lady said to me, “I want you to tell Peggy and Paul ‘thank you’ for their hospitality. This home is so beautiful. It is full of love and joy. There’s something special here, I don’t know how to explain it.”

I replied to her in French, knowing the Americans at the table would not understand me, “This couple love and serve Jesus Christ. He is alive and lives in their home. His presence is what you feel.”

“Yes, I thought so,” she said.

That’s what we missed in the picture-perfect Christmas homes—sensing a warmth and embrace only Christ can give. I came home from the tour with a thankful heart, not just for the place where I live, humble as it is, but for Jesus’ Spirit whose presence fills the rooms with His grace and love.