When a House Becomes a Home

Last Friday my art partner Lee and I relocated four houses from Ventura to Oxnard. Mind you, they were only gingerbread houses, but there was a fair amount of work that went into these little single-story abodes before they arrived at The Lighthouse for our end-of-the-year art workshop. And there was a lot of candy and royal icing to unload once the houses were distributed among the four work tables. Working in teams with noisy glee, it wasn’t long before the women worked their magic on these plain brown gingerbread houses. Four beautifully different houses became richly decorated with gum drops, Smarties, M & Ms, peppermint star-lights, licorice jelly beans, hot tamales, cinnamon imperials, candy canes, and ice cream cone trees. As festive as the houses were, the depth of the activity hit me when one woman expressed her delight at having a house to decorate since all the women share a common desire to have a home, or be home for the holidays. This Christmas, with her gingerbread house, she said she didn’t have to be homeless any more.

The smell of gingerbread baking in the oven continues to fill my home as I prepare for family coming for the holidays. The five grand-kids from Fresno want to decorate more houses with their cousins coming from Shanghai even though they hosted a Fresno cousins’ gingerbread party at their home at Thanksgiving. And who am I not to indulge their double desire for tradition on this rare opportunity we’re all under one roof. That’s when a house becomes a home.

Two thousand years ago, an inn in Bethlehem had no room. But a stable, an odd structure, just like a gingerbread house,  became a home like no other for Someone like no other.

Has an unusual house ever become a home for you? What or who made it home? What are some of your family traditions that let you know you’re home? Has your heart stabled a home for that Someone?

Even if you don’t have time to comment, I hope these questions will decorate your thoughts of the Season.

Enjoy the other houses these wonderful women turned into homes.

6 comments to When a House Becomes a Home

  • Matt Hoyt

    The home this post makes me think of is the church. Not the building, but the people- they are the true church not the structure, and the scripture speaks of them as a house (I Peter 2:5). I think relationships are a big part of what makes a house a home and for me the church is full of relationships that make me feel at home.

  • Kathy Spears

    When Tom and I and our three children lived in Escondido (many years ago), we never really felt “at home” there (even though I had family in the area) because we never connected with a church and the family that comes from that relationship. Our church has always been a big part of our lives, whether at Florence Ave. United Pres (Los Angeles), First Pres of Encino, Church of the Master (Mission Viejo), Community Pres (Ventura) or Eastminster. Having no church family leaves us with an empty place in our hearts and lives. We are grateful for the many lasting friendships that have resulted from our two church “homes” in Ventura. God bless you all.

  • Jeannie Cavender

    When “home” becomes “home” again. When my husband made the decision to leave our marriage he was generously insistant the house which had been our home should be mine. But living where your children grew up and where many of the 28 years of marriage memories were created, the house became more than just a space that I was occupying. I realized early on that I would have to redefine this space to once again be able to call it home, or for it to become home. It became a challenge to redefine each room one at a time, but through it all, it gave me a great appreciation for what was in that space and what could be in that space simply by the way I “filled” it. I could not delete the past, only embrace it as just one of a multitude of blocks in building a “new” space called home. It has taken a number of year and I must admit the family room interestingly still needs some work. But I wouldn’t trade my home for another. It is the neighbors’ next door, it’s my adult children gathering for Christmas – my daughter saying “We’re coming home for Christmas” though they truly have their own homes. My home is where the past connects with present and moves into the future. In either good or difficult circumstances we all have to work to turn a house into a home. Throughout the process I experienced I have been blessed with the confirmation that there is truly a “Master Carpenter” who does not watch but helps you place and secure every block that creates home.

  • Deanna J Bowling

    Since I have been retired, my bedroom has also become my office, my entertainment center, etc. Rather than decorating the room, and then trying to living into the atmosphere presented, I have been in the process of getting rid of and/or adding to the pieces I need in order to live my life as it now is.

    The last piece I added was a new, full size bed. (Our dog, Rotor, sleeps with me part of the night, and we had outgrown the twin bed that I had slept on for over 20 years.) When I was looking for new bedding, everything I was seeing was all lah-de-dah, to the point that I would be afraid to ruin it myself much less allow Rotor to put his mark on it. I finally found one bedspread that I knew we both would be comfortable with, one that we can not only sleep on, but play on, etc.

    A house best serves us as a home when we decorate it to reflect who we are. I am very glad that your students had the opportunity to decorate their own houses..

  • Aahmes Overton

    Thank you, Lynne, for the heart-warming pictures of your ministry at Lighthouse, and for
    the diaconal use of gingerbread houses!

  • A creative friend

    When my son was young, and as his birthday is on 4th december, I made the gingerbread house for him. It was such a success that it became our birthday cake preference for some years after,and in later years I made one each December and donated it to a needy organization.

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