The chaos of the Christmas shopping season begins this Friday. People will race around frantically to make sure everything is prepared. Gifts will be wrapped, trees will be decorated, ornaments hung, lights strung, desserts baked, cards sent, events attended, and memories made. And, before we know it, the chaos of the season will have come and gone. We’ll cleanup the wrapping paper covering our living room floors feeling a little conflicted, as we’re both sad and relieved that Christmas is over.
When Jesus visited the home of Mary and Martha for dinner, Mary sat at the Lord’s feet listening to Jesus. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made for the meal. Upset that Mary wasn’t doing her fair share, Martha came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to come help me!” But Jesus simply replied, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details,but there is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Our culture is obsessed with busyness. Like Martha, we race through the holidays trying to make sure everything is prepared and ready, but in the chaos we often neglect the most import thing. Mary recognizes that Jesus being in their presence is the most important thing, and rightly forgets everything else that needs to be done, focusing all her attention on Jesus. Martha, on the other hand, is so caught up in making sure the meal is prepared, that she neglects Jesus, thinking the preparations were the priority.
Don’t waste away the joy of Christmas being a Martha this year.
Christmas shouldn’t be a fuss.
When God draws near, the appropriate response is to be still and to listen, to sit at his feet and enjoy his presence. This is what God is calling each of us to do today – to be still and to listen. Christmas is the celebration of the coming of the Lord. The God of the universe took on flesh and dwelt among us. Born in a manger, he became like us in every way. Though he was rich in glory, for our sake he became poor. He gave up his divine privileges and took the humble position of a servant and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience dying a criminal’s death on a cross. Because of his great love for us, he laid down everything so that we could be reunited with him. The God of the universe has drawn near to our world, declaring his relentless love for each of us. The least we can do is draw near to him in return.
So let us all become like little children again this Christmas, joining the shepherds and their flocks in welcoming the coming of our Wonderful Lord. May we find time to sit at his feet this Christmas and delight in his presence.
For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.