What Sounds Better Than Hygge For The Holidays?
I think I’m a little bit behind on the trendy lifestyle buzzwords, so forgive me if you’ve heard the term before — but our household has recently embraced the Danish term “Hygge.” (The word, according to Dictionary.com, is pronounced “hoo-guh,” but every time I see it I think “High-gee.”) This beautiful concept is defined by the illustrious Dictionary.com as “the feeling of coziness and contentment evoked by simple comforts, as being wrapped in a blanket, having good conversations, enjoying food, etc.”
What sounds better than that, especially on the cusp of winter?
When COVID began, I had taken a “grin and bear it” kind of mentality, thinking this whole thing would be over once we quarantined for two weeks and socially distanced and all of that. How wrong I was! As we spent more and more time at home, I recognized that while our home life wasn’t uncomfortable, it was often more utilitarian than cozy. When I came upon the concept of Hygge, which apparently has been a big deal in America for the past few years, I thought “This is what we’ve been missing!”
We haven’t been taking comfort in the little things. We haven’t been enjoying and really relishing our time spent together or cups of cocoa or the time spent around the dinner table with good food. But, maybe that is what COVID has taught us — these moments are fleeting and important to cherish.
What I find exciting about Hygge, the Danish lifestyle of comfort in simplicity, is its unassuming nature. It is not fancy or over the top — it is quiet and gentle, reminding us lovingly to really own and enjoy these bright moments amid the bleak winter. We don’t need a fancy occasion to do so — we can enjoy our everyday moments.
Christ provides us examples of sharing comfort in a simple manner as well. While it isn’t about throw pillows and cups of cocoa, it is about warmth and the recognition of love and importance in another person. When we look at Christ, we can see him sharing these small, important moments in the most unlikely ways. For example, when he calls Zacharias from the tree so they can dine together that night. Or when Jesus so often talks Peter down gently from his brash ideas. Or, when he walked all day with the sad disciples to Emmaus , explaining everything as he walked, only to break bread with them and open their unseeing eyes. Or, when he recognized the faith of an unwell woman who reached out to touch the hem of his robe. The list could go on and on. Jesus embraced and called those whom no one else would have called. He called them by name, loved them in the season they were in, and gave them hope in a way no one had done before. He didn’t see what the world saw — he saw the beauty that he placed in them when that person was “fearfully and wonderfully made,” as it says in Psalm 139:14.
Jesus didn’t wait for just the right season or for just the right location or just the right moment — he loved everyone in the way that they needed in the moment that they needed it. He didn’t give out mercy and grace in an appropriate manner in an appropriate time — He radically turned everything on its head and most generously gave, loved, lived and also died to provide love and forgiveness to all. He rose again, leaving his hope and peace behind for all who would take it.
Christ was Hygge before it was cool, we could say. He provided genuine care and compassion for those he was with, giving of himself in a way that only he could. He seized the moment, he loved drastically in the moment — and he didn’t wait to do so. He grasped the moment at hand, and he did so beautifully.
The love we have for others does not have to be shared in elaborate ways or locations. It can be a simple gesture, a conversation with a friend, providing a meal or a cup of coffee when someone really needs it. We can share these simple moments during this time of confusion and fear, improving our lives and others, better recognizing the things we are thankful for and making life a little more bearable for everyone.
Maybe you can’t invite everyone over and pile them
up with hot chocolate and fuzzy blankets. But, you can help a friend, or give a gift or spend some time in conversation. These simple blessings can mean more than you’ll ever imagine — for both you and someone else.
I hope you, too, can embrace the concept of Hygge, both in the world and in your own home. Take it easy on yourself and remember you have a tremendous capacity for love. Share it with others this holiday season and make it a hygge Christmas!