Have you heard of the concept of a hygge home? Danish in its origin, hygge a fun word (pronounced “hoo-guh”) that in the home and design world, represents all that is cozy. Especially in the fall and winter, it means comfort in lots of forms like warm puddles of light in comfy reading corners, hearty stews and baked bread, soft music and delightful scents. It represents warmth and welcome for those who live in a home.
Like all good things, though, hygge can also have a short-sighted, selfish side if we aren’t careful. We can become so focused on creating comfort for ourselves that we forget our calling as homemakers (whether we do that full-time or work outside the home, whether we live in an apartment or a sprawling home in the middle of suburbia).
How do I bring a Hygge to my House?
As a girl who loves creating cozy and comfort in my home, I’ve done some digging and I think there are four principles that will help us use beauty and comfort in our homes, as a source of healing and blessing with far-reaching impact. A hygge home reaches far beyond just adding comfort or beauty to our home. The concept of a hygge home and have eternal opportunities.
Repeat after me: this is not our forever home.
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”Matthew 6:19-21 KJV
As a follower of design shows and lover of home decor social media accounts and books, writers and blogs, I hear this phrase frequently: “This is our forever home.” “We’re looking for our ‘forever home.’” “I have lots of dreams for my ‘forever home.’’’
We often see our current living address as temporary, and that can be a negative thing (signaling dissatisfaction/lacking in joy) or a positive thing (we know that our true treasure awaits us in Heaven). But when we use the phrase “forever home,” or devote all our time and resources to making our temporary comfort of utmost priority, we miss out on the powerful concept that this earthly life is fleeting, and our eternity is where our biggest investment should be made.
This doesn’t mean we have to throw away all our earthly comforts and live a stark, ultra-minimal life. (Although, friend, He may well ask us to do this, and we see plenty of examples throughout the New Testament and all of ancient and modern history of God doing just that.
We must be ready and willing, if He asks.) But we do need to reframe how we see our earthly comforts. They are a gift, and they must always be held with an open hand and used to point to our TRUE “forever home - “ the one God has designed for those who are His in Christ.
Any current loveliness is a blessing from God, “frosting” on top of the blessing of His love and grace toward us, both an unnecessary gift and a reflection of His goodness.
Jesus is our source of joy; the Holy Spirit is our true comfort.
“Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” -John 16:32-33
Admittedly, this world daily has its struggles. Depending on our season, they may be life-altering and overwhelming. But even something some may see as a “light and momentary” struggle (I think of my own melancholy that sets in when the days grow short and darkness seems to overwhelm during winter months) can point us to God’s goodness if we have eyes to see.
It is tempting to seek comfort as our utmost priority when we struggle, and that can easily become sin if we aren’t careful. Addiction to our own pleasures (even when they’re something as seemingly “good” as creating beauty and sensory treats in our home) can easily become an idol that steals our attention from the only ultimate provider of Life and goodness.
So while God has given us the gift of beauty and blessing (and we can and should enjoy it as those made in the image of an amazing CREATOR!), we need to be careful to seek life and comfort ultimately in Him, willing to let go of our earthly comforts if He asks, because we know we have unspeakable comfort in Christ.
Ironically, we have that comfort because He came and lived a life of discomfort and sacrifice - how incredible is that to contemplate? (All of John 16 is an incredible passage to study in light of our having a “forever perspective” on God’s love for us and the model He sets for how we love others!)
BE the comfort others need to experience.
“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”Ephesians 5:1-2
So much of what’s written about a “hygge home” and hospitality, even from a Christian perspective, focuses on making ourselves feel cozy. Boy, do I fall into this trap. I want my candles and essential oils, my perfect cup of coffee or tea, my “comfort foods,” my soft-lit lamps and candles and fluffy socks and cozy blanket. But Jesus modeled for us the concept of servanthood as the highest form of love, and our lives are called to be lived in serving others. So if we view “hygge” from this perspective, we can use the art of homemaking and hospitality to literally bring healing to those we serve.
When we pair “hygge home” with “hospitality,” and seek to create comfort as an act of service reflecting God’s sacrificial love, it has reach far beyond what we can do on our own. If we seek to create a hygge home and comfort in His name and partner it with intentional relationship-building and telling of His wondrous works, I believe He will multiply our efforts to have lasting impact way beyond what we could imagine!
I love that the descriptor used for Jesus’ love and sacrifice is a “fragrant offering” and sacrifice to God. As much as I love pleasing the senses (my own and others’) with delicious food, lovely surroundings, and comforting scents, how would my perspective change if I allowed those things to remind me of the powerful, life-giving, transforming love of Christ? How much more still, if I saw every comfort created, as an opportunity to point others to that love?
Live a life of welcome as lights to point to the gospel.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”Ephesians 2:8-10
My friends on the mission field on a remote island don’t use fancy china or create elaborate meals to bless those in their community. In fact, for them, biblical hospitality might look like accepting an invitation to eat around the fire outside a neighboring hut.
A single widow may not have the resources to serve dinner to another family, but she may be able to share a cup of tea with a young woman and tell the stories of God’s faithfulness in her life.
A college student might not have a home of her own to host others, but maybe she can create a “haven” in her dorm for others to study, and seek opportunities to go deeper in “real life” conversation and point to God’s goodness in her own story.
- What barriers do you experience in your own life that make you feel you can’t offer “hygge hospitality” in the name of Jesus?
- How do you struggle to accept God’s earthly blessings, while seeing their provision or lack with a “forever perspective?”
How do you Practice Hygge?
If you do want to practice this “hygge home hospitality,” feeding the senses as a reflection of God’s love, here are a few ideas to do it creatively.
- Make a comforting soup and invite your single-mom-friend for dinner. Double it and send her home with a meal for another night.
- Try this Paleo “Cheese”burger Soup
- This Chicken and Walnut Stew is unexpected and delicious
- Friends have delivered this delicious Chicken and Basil Soup to many a family in need of a healing meal.
- Try some of the recipes in the free Healing Home Harvest Cookbook. Or grab the new release Healing Harvest Cookbook on Amazon.
- By all means, light a pretty candle on a grey evening. Then take a candle to a widow with a note of encouragement and a scripture to literally brighten her day.
- Curl up with a good book (I love well-written Christian fiction especially in the winter months), and when you find one that encourages you in your walk with Jesus, buy an extra copy and gift it to a young woman who could use a good read and the encouragement of a “big sister” in Jesus.
A Hygge Home and Hospitality
I’ve written more on the idea of hygge home and hospitality here, if you’d like to dig deeper on the idea of creating beauty in our temporary homes to point to our true “forever home.” It’s my prayer that we can embrace the beauty God has given us to both enjoy and create, as a way to offer healing to those who need it in Him.
A Little More About Angela
Angela is a wife, mom of five plus two daughters-in-love, and a writer, photographer, and speaker. She encourages women to open their hearts and homes to know God and share Him with others by creating recipes, devotional thoughts and ideas for home and family at everydaywelcome.com.