A Holy Space in the Home

Recently, we had some couples over for dinner. It was bitterly cold out, so I had them put their bulky coats and purses on my bed.

My bedroom is, to me, a lovely, cheerful space. I have oak furniture that my ‘Yiayia’ and ‘Papou’ bought us for a wedding gift. My comforter is old, but still looks fresh and bright. My sweet sister, from the fabric of some lovely old curtains that my ‘Thea’ bequeathed me, sewed the bed pillows. The walls are a warm, golden, yellow. The two bed-lamps are large, but fit the space nicely, given to me by a dear friend who no longer needed them. On one wall is my wedding picture with my amazing husband: we look like two teenagers. I kiddingly tell guests that that is my first husband. They always take a second look before laughing. Thirty years changes a person! An icon of Christ and Panagia hang opposite the bed to greet me each morning. I enjoy this precious space and try to keep it tidy and clean.

At some point in our evening together, each of my female guests mentioned that they were surprised that I had let them see my bedroom. They said they would be too embarrassed to ever let anyone see theirs. I thought about this for a few days. Within our homes there are many spaces: Our kitchen, where our bodily nourishment is prepared, our dining room, where we break bread with our families, our living rooms, where we share many special conversations and play games, our iconostasis where we pray to our dear Lord…and our master bedroom, where our precious children were conceived…where we actually co-created with God in giving life to someone within our own bodies. Such a mystery!

Imagine for a moment the holy altar. It is in this sacred space that the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of our Lord. Not an everyday event! It stands to reason that the vessels are gold, that the altar cloth is ornate, and that the tabernacle light does not go unlit. Everything in the altar is created for beauty and function. So it is in our bedrooms. It is in this holy space that we express our deepest feelings for our husbands. It is here that our marriage is consummated and here that we bring a new life into the world. It is also a Holy Space, and as such it deserves respect and dignity.

Take a look around your bedroom. Do you like what you see? Does there exist both function and beauty? How is the bed covering? Lovely and attractive or has it seen better days? How are the surfaces…tastefully appointed or a little disappointing? How is the lighting? Is there enough of it? How about the paint color? Is it to your liking? The appearance of a space speaks a lot of its inhabitants! We are the children of God, the crown of creation, the object of God’s love and salvation. We must have self-respect and dignity, which is also manifested in the space in which we dwell. Beauty need not be costly, but we ought to offer our best to our spouse, to our family, and to those for whom we offer philoxania (hospitality, love towards strangers).

Some of the ancient philosophers emphasized the material world, others the spiritual. As Orthodox Christians, we emphasize both and negate neither. We use God’s creation as a means of growing closer to Him, of glorifying Him and of expressing ourselves as His unique children. We are creative just as He is creative. May we all continue to use this gift, coupled with the knowledge that we are worthy of respect and dignity, to create a master bedroom that is Godly, well-appointed, and a sanctuary for us in our precious marriage.

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