This post is part of my series on Mother Culture – My Reading List.
The Little Book of Hygge
I read this book in an afternoon, curled up on the couch with my 4yo, with his movie on in the background. It sounds hygge (hyggeligt? – I don’t have the language down yet).
My little boy had gastro and my reading was interrupted by moans and spews. I had the book in one hand and a bucket in the other.
The gastro, not the book.
The book was a lovely, light read with some quirky humour along the way. I found myself instantly inspired to consider how to bring more hygge (A Danish idea meaning something similar to comfort, cosiness, togetherness) to our home and lives. The book put a language and structure to things that naturally appealed to me anyway and gave me some simple ideas for how to be more intentional about it.
As with any inspirational book or cultural trend, we must stop and ask ourselves whether the principles are sound, before we get caught up in the practices. As a Christian, I found the book to be quite secular, and the concept of faith is only briefly mentioned within the goal of happiness. Certainly, a lot of the practicalities could be considered as faithful and wise living. Togetherness, gratitude, simplicity, nature, joy, and rest are certainly godly practices. But is the foundational ideal a goal I should seek? Should I be looking for comfort, happiness, rest and safety in my setting and lifestyle?
The Bible tells us that we should find our rest and comfort in God. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matt 11:28-29
In fact, God teaches us that much joy is to be found in hardships. That is certainly contrary to hygge. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1:2-3
I do not think that this means we need to throw out the idea of hygge, but rather reclaim it for what it can be. Comfort and happiness are not ungodly things, but they should come from and point us to God, not be the goal in and of themselves. Think of Mary resting at Christ’s feet while Martha rushes in her busyness. Mary rests, not simply to rest, but to learn from Christ. Embracing hygge for Christ, means resting in Him and for Him. Hygge should not be our goal. Happiness should not be our goal. God’s glory should be our goal. If we start with that, then I think we have a lot to learn from the practices of hygge.
I think I might light a candle, eat some chocolate, and read my Bible. That sounds like true hygge.
Buy it here
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