Hygge and the Christian Life: What is hygge and why do we need it?

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Hygge is the hottest trend in home design and lifestyle choices… but what in the world is it?  Read on to find out what is hygge and why do Christians need to embrace it.

Hygge for Christians

Do you ever feel like life is passing by too quickly?

Do you move from one thing to the next and wish we could just slow down a bit?

How fast are your kids growing up?  Crazy fast, right!?

Do you long for simplicity?

Do you want to enjoy the little things?

Do you crave quiet coziness with the ones you love?

That, my friends, is why you need hygge.  It’s the missing gap in our American vocabulary and way of life.

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What is Hygge?

Hygge is a Danish word that doesn’t directly translate into English. If we were to give it a name, it would be something like cozyness, homeyness, togetherness…but it’s so much more.

The first step to understanding hygge is learning to pronounce it.  HOO-gah or HYOO-gah.

If you can imagine some sweet southern grandma in deep Georgia saying to you, “Sugar, come and sit a spell and have some sweet tea with me.”   In the Deep South, there is no r sound at the end. Sugar, “shu-gah”. Drop the sh and there you have it.  Hue-gah.

Hygge is a noun, something you share and appreciate.  It’s also a verb, something you do together.  And it has an adjective form hyggeligt (HUE-gah-lie).  My family has just learned the word (and we LOVE saying the adjective form), but I feel like I’ve understood its meaning for years.  This is that something I longed for.

I feel like there has been a gap in my language.  I know what this thing is, but I can’t name it. This is that feeling I loved and wanted more of but didn’t know how to name.

Simplicity

Joy

Peace

Family Time

Contentment

Celebration

Quality Time

Warmth

It’s all of that together! Imagine your family gathering in the kitchen or round the fire at Christmas time.  There’s hygge.

Winter, particularly Christmas, is the quintessential hygge season–fire, blankets, candles, warm beverages–but you can hygge in the summer, too!

Imagine sitting with dear friends on a patio a dusk, bathed in the warm glow of string lights.  Cool drink in your hand, you laugh and talk without a thought as to what time of evening it is.  Hygge.

Picture a cup of tea and shortbread cookies at a friend’s house.  You gather at her kitchen table and chat while your little ones play in the next room.  Time seems to stand still as you bare your souls or maybe just talk about the new grout on her backsplash.  Hygge.

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In recent years, it has become popular for people to choose a word for the year rather than a New Year’s Resolution.  Popular words include Simplicity, Contentment, Joy, Family…  What is it we’re all seeking?  Hygge.

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In the race to accomplish more and do it all, we seem to have lost the ability to slow down and enjoy the simplest joy of fellowship.

Hygge and the Christian Life

As I’ve thought more about this concept over the last several weeks, I’ve decided hygge is my word for the year, and I’ve come to see it as an important aspect of the Christian life.

As Christians, we share the love of Jesus with our neighbors with open arms.  We find contentment in the blessings that come from God’s hand, both big and small.  We open our hearts and souls to one another to spread the joy that comes from the hope we have in our savior.

The Lord has given this world to us, to glorify him!  Let us praise him and appreciate it!

Read the following verses with this picture of hygge in your mind:

You have put more joy in my heart
    than they have when their grain and wine abound.
In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
    for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.    Psalm 4:7-8  ESV (emphasis added)

Dwell in safety.  Lie down in peace.  Hearts full of joy.

Cozy, together, content.    There’s hygge in the Lord.

Paul’s letter to the Christians in Thessalonica includes this directive:

…make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you,  so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.  I Thessalonians 4:11-12 NIV

A quiet life.  A hygge life.

Ecclesiastes tells us that there’s a great wisdom in being content with the life God has given you. More than content, joyful.

 A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?  Ecclesiastes 2:24-25 NIV (emphasis added)

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.  I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live.  That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.  Ecclesiastes 3: 11-13 NIV (emphasis added)

It’s a gift of God for us to find satisfaction in our work, and our food and drink, and in the company of loved ones.  Satan often misuses God’s gifts and tempts us to abuse the privilege, with lust and gluttony, but the enjoyment of these things is originally intended as a gift.  Indeed, taking pleasure in life can be a very holy and worshipful act.  

Mary (the sister of Martha) was the poster child for hygge.

Mary sat at Jesus’ feet and worshiped him.  She savored his presence.  She soaked in all the warm, happy feelings of being with her divine guest.

Martha, dear Martha, she hustled about, concerned with all the details of hostessing.  Was there anything wrong with Martha cooking and cleaning?  No, not in itself.  We have several examples of godly women who worked hard.  The problem was, she was missing the LORD. He was right there with her and she missed it

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How often do we miss out on beautiful moments of togetherness in our lives?  We hustle and hurry and neglect to notice the most important things–Jesus, yes, but also time with family and friends.

I want to practice hygge in our homeschool.

I want to have hygge in my hostessing and hospitality.

I want to have hygge with my husband.

I want hygge with my friends, family, and church.

I want hygge with myself. (Yes, you can hygge yourself!)

Light a candle, sprinkle a little cinnamon in your coffee, and grab a cozy knit blanket.  Let’s hygge!

Share this concept with your friends! Click here to Pin to your home or faith board.

Do you hygge?

Candles and wooly socks,
Christina
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26 comments
  1. Thanks for this post. I don’t take the time to make moments special very often. I hope to keep this in my mind and look for opportunities.

  2. Thank you for connecting Hygge to Christ. I love the concept of Hygge but it is never mentioned in conjunction with our wonderful Lord and savior. It is so encouraging to hear some scriptures that show how Hygge is part of a Christian lifestyle!

  3. As a dane and Scandinavian I have to say that hygge is not really something we connect with a special season or time at the year. It’s something we use everyday in the year, but most of us don’t really think much about it because it’s just something we do. Like eating together with neighbors or hanging out with friends or just having a movie night with our s.o.

    As a dane, I find it flattering that countries outside of Scandinavia is adopting the concept of hygge. But at the same time many people overdo it so it becomes less flattering to us.
    Countries are beginning to evolve their own kind of hygge which is awesome. Since the concept hygge comes in many shapes and sizes.

    But I want to say thank you for casting new light, over the concept in the American way, of our lovely concept.

    1. Louise, thank you so much for sharing your point of view! I think I understand what you mean. I can see that some people (probably mostly Americans) take an idea and exaggerate it to the point that it becomes almost a cartoon of itself. I just enjoyed a wonderfully hyggeligt experience with my family this weekend, around the swimming pool! 🙂

  4. Good thoughts. I always cringe when I see Martha cast in the light of busyness and preoccupation. I see the point but I wonder how can one enjoy the aspects of Hygge, a cozy fire, a “simple” meal, warm drink, soft pillows, etc unless someone (Martha) has prepared those things? I think of this often at Christmas time. I want the welcoming, cozy, comfortable, satisfying experiences in my home with immediate family and those who would come to visit…but there is much preparation and busyness to get there, yes?

    1. Exactly! Whenever I plan a gathering, I try to strike the right balance of making it special vs making it relaxed. And Martha is one of my favorite Bible characters because she illustrates how easily we can fall into the trap of feeling like we have to work to make things right for the Lord.

  5. I’m really confused as to why you make a distinction of “hygge and the Christian life”. I’m Christian but I don’t preface everything this way, like, “hairstyling for Christians ” or “cooking for Christians”. Hygge is a concept of living for everyone. It’s not associated or dissociated with any religion. Can’t it just be what it is?

    1. I think her title is fairly relevant because all throughout her writing she made parallels between hygge and scriptures that also encourage it.

  6. Thank you for this. When I first saw the term I had no idea what it meant and assumed it was something strange and avoided it so I’m glad you explained it. Through the years I have chosen a pretty simple lifestyle, avoiding the typical busyness that characterizes so much of American life. I think I have unknowingly grasped the concept of hygge. But I have often struggled with feeling guilty for it. I have 5 children that I have homescooled. Three of them still live at home, and 2 are still in school. I have much more free/down time than most people. I love to have friends over. My husband and I plan a special time at home just for the 2 of us almost every Friday night. My Saturdays are usually spent reading or scrapbooking. I spend time hiking or at the creek. I like to cook and organize. I like that you presented this as a good thing g to be desired. I spend so much time enjoying life and feeling cozy that I often ask myself if I doing something wrong!

  7. I so rarely comment on blog posts because they so rarely touch me but this is a huge exception. I love this so much, thank you for your beautiful words and intelligent story telling skills

  8. I absolutely love this post ! This is the first time I have seen Hygge and Christianity explained together so beautifully! This is also my word for the New Year , looking forward to the peace, joy and contentment, and growth that will come ❤️❤️
    Blessings.

  9. Hi Christina,

    I’ve actually seen this article a few years ago. I come back to read it periodically and thought I would comment this time. I love it! 😍 It resonated with me from the 1st time I red it. I was “skeptical” at 1st as to how/if it lined up with christianity. There are just so many new things out there that I wanted to be sure. This was one of the 1st articles I red to explore this concept and was my favorite. It explained any doubts I may have had and so beautifully lined up with the Word. Ive shared it with others since then.

    I can relate with exactly what you said about the fact that it was something that you already felt, but just didn’t have a name for it. It’s such a beautiful concept. God had opened my eyes years before to slow down. So, I was walking that out. It was fun to run into this to tie into what I was already doing. I do agree with Louise about not over exaggerating the concept. It’s something that just resonates and then you live it out, day by day.

    I’ve actually since created a Facebook page with this concept encapsulating it. It’s there to encourage others to be happy in the simple moments and to just share real life together.

    It even opened my horizon to explore how the Danes live. Did you know that they rate at the top of the list of the happiest people in the world because of this concept?! It’s remarkable. I’ve even joked with my husband about moving to Denmark! 🤣 He did humor me to see what it took to become a citizen though. 🤣 Kind of impossible for us. It is, however, on my bucket list to visit one day. 💕 Thank you for sharing!!

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