“Make straight in the desert a highway for our King…”

December 20, 2012 | My Jottings

That’s what I’m trying to do this Christmas season.

In this very full life that can lead to spiritual dryness, I am trying (with God’s guidance, grace and mercy!) to live out the words of the prophet Isaiah, when he wrote about John the Baptist and his announcement of Jesus:

“A voice cries out, ‘Prepare the way of the Lord
Make straight in the desert a highway for our King
Every valley shall be lifted up
And every mountain made low.’ “

Even though I think I’ve taken all the things off of my proverbial plate that I can, I find myself still wondering how to quietly and peacefully enjoy this beautiful season for what it really is. To me, it’s not about shopping, although I’ve done some of that online. It’s not about decorating, although as you’re about to see, we’ve done some of that too.

Each Christmas season, I try to make straight in the desert of my spiritual life, a highway for my King. A place where He has unhindered access. I ask the Lord to fill in those valleys in my life, of which there are many. I ask Him to remove the mountains that I just can’t seem to get around.

I have said no to almost every event, except most things having to do with my family or grandchildren. I have tried to make room every day for down time, reading and devotional time. I have been writing in my gratitude journal, which I love — what a special time that has become! I just finished this book, and very much enjoyed it. I’ve been mindfully listening to Christmas carols, getting enough sleep, and letting some things go. And yet still I wonder if I’ve made enough room in my life for the One I say I love and serve. Do any of you ever grapple with this? I’m probably not the only one pondering these things.

Well, moving on, I thought I’d share some more photos with you of some things we have around the house to give it a festive feel.

This is a night-time view of our tree. We have these neat privacy blinds that can be opened so they go up from the bottom, or down from the top. This way we can walk around in the house completely undressed, and people outside can see our tree, but not see us. Ha. NOT! Never in a million years. I just wanted to make sure you were awake.ย  ๐Ÿ™‚

This sits on the kitchen window sill above the sink:

Sara decked out the lights over our dining room table with several feet of artificial holly vines, some plaid ribbon, and a few gold ornaments hanging at different lengths:

Here’s a closer shot:

At our old house this triple wreath hung outside one year, but this year I thought I’d put it in our bedroom.

ย I also put the nativity scene in our bedroom this year.

We have a small white tree we set up in our bedroom too, and when the grandchildren spend the night during the Christmas season, they love to sleep under the glow of its tiny red and white lights, while soothing instrumental carols play.

Sara also put these gold ornaments and curly ribbon on the three pendant lights that hang over our kitchen counter. I think the lights look like ice cubes.

It’s cold and windy today. Most of our snow has melted from a few days we had in the 40s, but there are still a few patches on the grass left. Here’s a view of the morning sun shining on grey Lake Superior:

And here’s a fabulous picture my friend Ember sent me yesterday. Look at Mr. Jaunty Cardinal’s expression! He’s checking up on me! He’s peeking around the corner and saying, “Juuuulie? Have you forgotten that when you have Jesus, you always have hope? Don’t you remember how He sent me to you all those years ago?”

Just looking at this photo makes me grin. Yes, Lord. I remember. Thank you.

Even Edith, our almost eleven year-old Schnauzer, is making room for her King. She was resting on our bed this morning, looking out the window and wondering when He would show up. She’s ready for Him, all decked out in her green ribbon, humble hound heart prepared to bow when she finally sees her Maker. She’s a Hallelujah Hound, you know.

Our furnace has broken three times in the past month, and as I type this, the third repairman is trying to fix it. He has been here a long time and from what I gather, it’s not a simple repair. Michael and I held hands together a little while ago and asked the Lord to help this man fix it. It’s a terribly misbehaving furnace, and we’ve learned it has special needs. We have company from California arriving soon to spend Christmas with us, and what kind of hosts would we be if they came all the way to frigid Minnesota and we didn’t offer them heat?

Thank you so much for stopping by today!

What kinds of things do you do (or not do) at Christmas time, to keep the true meaning alive in your heart and home?


  1. Ganeida says:

    My Dearest Julie, your home looks lovely. I decided early that we would not be doing Christmas again this year. My MIL then threw a spoke in my wheels by doing a family thing & so we will be spending a good part of our day there because as far as possible we are to live in peace with all men. We will however do a downscaled version of last year as I am late [very] too disorganized & too busy up to this point to plan anything. I did a very small shop yesterday. ONE thing for everyone as part of our celebrations, mostly stuff we need, & as from Saturday night we will do our own thing & ignore the world ~ can’t start tonight as Cait is singing carols down the hall & she has a duet so we are all just a tad excited. May your paths indeed be made straight.

  2. Just Julie says:

    I loved hearing about your plans, Ganeida, even if they are a bit of a concession on your part. ๐Ÿ™‚ I would love to hear Cait’s carol singing! I am thankful for you, my dear Australian friend…. xxoo

  3. Ganeida says:

    Julie! Watched with the girl. She was so impressed though we giggle a bit over the accents. ๐Ÿ˜€ Loved seeing your girl. I hadn’t realised quite how large her enterprise was. Impressive!

  4. Just Julie says:

    I’m so glad you got to see the clip of Sharon and her Knitters for Newtown endeavor, Ganeida! Accents! Hahaha! We sigh the sime thing waynever we heeuh you Aussies! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Ganeida says:

    lol Only Cait & I in particular are always being asked which part of England we’re from! Even the lads don’t sound particularly Aussie, though not as weird as the girls.

  6. Just Julie says:

    ๐Ÿ˜‰ xxoo

  7. Ember says:

    Hmm. You could always get undressed with the blinds open but standing cunningly *behind* the tree…

  8. Just Julie says:

    Teehee! This would be a memory I wouldn’t want to inflict on anyone Ember…including myself! Merry Christmas to you and your dear family. xxoo

  9. Helen in Switzerland says:

    Your home looks wonderful Julie!
    Thanks especially for your reminder to make space for God – I shall be trying very hard to follow your example this Christmas.
    Much love and good wishes to you and yours, my friend,

  10. Just Julie says:

    You are so kind, Helen. I hope you’re feeling better. And I hope your Christmas is full of His peace and joy. I’m so glad to know you Helen! xxoo

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