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.”
Is there some character trait you know about yourself that sometimes gets in the way of life? I tend to be an organizer, very task and goal orientated. I often look towards the end result instead of enjoying the moments within the task. I learned a valuable lesson when I was in South Africa. While serving in the different organizations, God showed me the value of the relationships over the tasks. The tasks will always get done at some point, but if that is all I am looking at, I will miss the blessings of building relationships. I may even miss an important opportunity to share God’s love and my story.
How true this is especially during the Christmas season. We can become goal minded-get the gifts, wrap the gifts, bake the cookies, do the cards-that we may miss one of the greatest opportunities of our life. Relationship building, stories shared, life lessons learned, and the opportunity to share God’s message of love and forgiveness.
Martha learned the same lesson first hand from Jesus. Martha was to busy with her preparations for the meal to take the time to hear Jesus, she just wanted to get the meal on the table and then relax with Jesus. Mary on the other hand knew the value of taking the time to hear the words of Jesus, knowing the food could wait. She understood the value of spending time together, building relationships, forming community. She desired deeper intimacy over the task at hand.
Which camp do you fall in? Are you a Mary or a Martha? It is important that we stop and reevaluate the point of our Christmas gatherings. I believe the point is relationships, building a lasting community of friendship and family bonds that will stand firm in the years to come. A time to share Christ’s faithfulness to us this year and how he is growing us within. Building those relationships requires time and energy and Christmas is the perfect time to stop and enjoy the conversations. To tell stories, to gather everyone together to prepare the meal as a family, even if it means the meal is late, or not quite done the way you envisioned. This is how relationships are formed, deepened, and memories are made.
So this Christmas, I pray you will be a Mary. Create a little taste of heaven here on earth. Put aside your schedule in favor of relationships, slow down the pace, and involve the whole family in your preparations. Accept the help when offered, see it as an opportunity to deepen a relationship, to share your story and to add some laughter and joy to the day. Take the time to speak of God’s faithfulness to you, to share stories of his love, and to share the word of Christ with a love one. You could change a life.