The holiday season is upon us once again. What is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year is, for many people, the complete opposite. Heightened expectations for a holly, jolly Christmas, festive activities crammed into already-packed schedules, overextended budgets and overextended waistlines—all of these rob us joy. Oh, the irony!
There should be such delight as we celebrate the Gift of Love sent to mankind, as we ponder the fulfillment of God’s promises proclaim by the prophets of old. The Redeemer has come. And yet, somehow the details of celebration distract us from reveling in the miracle.
The well-known story of Martha and Mary in Luke 10:38-42 speaks to me.
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Martha and Mary were hosting Jesus and his disciples. They had opened their home to Jesus. The dinner was in his honor. Isn’t the Advent season all about Jesus? Isn’t Christmas supposed to be the remembrance of his birth?
Martha became distracted by the details of caring for her guests. The meal wasn’t quite ready, people were hungry, and the pressure was mounting. How often does this describe us? While in the thick of preparation and pressing deadlines, do we forget about the Guest of Honor? Does our to-do list become more important than the Reason for our doing?
The Lord kindly reminded Martha while she was in her frenzied state, that being worried and upset about his dinner was not his plan. In fact, only one thing was really needed—Sitting at the Guest of Honor’s feet. What can we do to keep Jesus at the center of our celebrations? How can we create space in our lives for that one thing, to just be with him?
The number one way to thrive during the holidays is to keep our focus on Jesus. We must make time to breathe and enjoy the Lord. After all, he is our Guest of Honor. Let’s open our hearts and prepare room for him.