“And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42 (NKJV)
This familiar story of the yin-yang sisters hit me again this week. You know, there’s Martha the hostess-with-the-mostest, who is highly aggravated by her sis Mary, who seems to have all the time in the world to sit and listen to Jesus while the kettle boils and the potatoes need mashing. Am I the only one whose Martha-ness is threatening to take over in the pre-Christmas frenzy while I try to keep my Mary-ness afloat? I think not.
Mary: “sat before the Master, hanging on every word he said.” (The Message)
Martha: “you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing.” (The Message)
Sound familiar? Christmas shopping, menu planning, groceries to be bought, baking to be done, closets to be cleaned out (what?), tree to be decorated, gingerbread house to be constructed, extra church stuff to be involved in, company is coming, Christmas is coming, Jesus is coming… oh yes.
Oh yes. Jesus.
I need to let my inner Mary increase, and my outer Martha decrease.
At the end of this passage in Luke 10, Jesus says that the “good part”, the being with Jesus, the consuming love of God, which Mary was soaking in and devouring like air, “will not be taken away from her.” Not by the guilt trip from her sister, and not by any of the following (which happens to be rather a comprehensive list!):
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39 (NIV)
And so it is with us— this beautiful love-gift, this Jesus who saves us, this gracious love of a Heavenly Father will not be ripped from us like wrapping paper strewn and discarded on Christmas morning. It is ours to be savored. Even at Christmas.
Especially at Christmas.
Yes, I need to let my inner Mary increase, and my outer Martha decrease.
These wise words uttered by John the Baptist regarding the Lord Jesus, should surely be the echo of our hearts this Christmastime… and always: “He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:30 (NIV) After all, what does our festive fretting and advent anxiety achieve? Certainly not joy, probably not peace.
Less of me, more of Him. Less of stress, more of love. It’s hard to pour out when you are running on empty, and isn’t this the season of giving? His love and ours? To Him and to others?
May Jesus be our focus, Jesus be our celebration, Jesus be the very center of our Christmas. Let’s choose the “good part” and, like Mary, cherish every moment with Him…
Linking up with some fabulous encouragers: