Luke 10: 41 – 42 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”
The days leading up to Christmas build with excitement as we anticipate the joy of celebrating the birth of Christ with family and friends. We make lists of all of the fun holiday projects we want to do, including decorating our homes, baking cookies, writing cards, and buying presents. Suddenly the Advent season is rushing by as we find ourselves in a whirl of holiday tasks. Like Martha in this scripture, we become “worried and distracted by many things.” All well-intended, our holiday business can, ironically, get in the way of the one true reason for the season, to spend time in Christ’s presence.
This story always reminds me of how our secular society idolizes high-achievers like Martha Stewart, the so-called entertaining and home-decorating guru, and that like Martha in this scripture, we often feel our worth is based on how much we achieve in the way of projects that make our homes look beautiful and our households run perfectly. Whose house is going to looker neater — whose crafts will be more eye-catching? Why, Martha’s of course. Not Mary’s, who is willing to put down her tasks to make time for Jesus.
Sometimes, especially during this season, we need to ask ourselves, at what cost do we achieve these immaculate and clockwork run homes, so seemingly glorified by our secular society. When we stay too busy, emulating Martha, we don’t have time to “sit at the Lord’s feet and listen to what he is saying.”
While I love getting my home ready for Christmas and doing all the other wonderful seasonal activities, I try to remember that the completion of tasks should not be more important than being open and available to those spontaneous moments of love that present themselves. Like Jesus dropping in to see Martha and Mary, perhaps an old friend will call, just when I’m in the middle of decorating my tree. I hope I can easily put down the ornaments and spend time talking and listening. I hope that when I find myself getting stressed because I haven’t done my baking, card writing, and shopping, that I still make room to spend quiet time with Jesus each day. In spending time with my Savior, I am “choosing the better part, which will not be taken away from [me].”
*Dear Jesus, Help me to stay focused on You this Advent season. In all the excitement of holiday expectations and activities, let me not neglect your loving companionship, the greatest gift all. *
— Ingrid Kelly