It’s the first day of December. Are you in the Christmas spirit?
I love Christmas. I love the music, decorating, choosing the right gifts for family and friends, and especially baking. It’s a special time of year where a certain magic seems to be in the air. I enjoy being busy and seeing all the projects and activities come together.
But this year as I thought about the month ahead I found myself overwhelmed. We have some extra-special celebrations this December, adding a twist to an already busy month. The added planning and preparations began to suck away some of my Christmas spirit.
My Christmas was getting out of focus.
Then during my quiet time I was reminded of a woman in the bible who allowed things to get a little out of focus.
Jesus and his disciples went on their way. Jesus came to a village where a woman named Martha lived. She welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary.
Mary sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was busy with all the things that had to be done. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, my sister has left me to do the work by myself. Don’t you care? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered. “You are worried and upset about many things. But only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better. And it will not be taken away from her.”
Luke 10:38-42 NIV
This interaction seems to reflect my conflicting emotions about the Christmas season this year. As I make my lists and check them twice (or 3 or 4 times) I realize that all the things on my lists are good things. There is nothing wrong with any of them. The challenge comes when I focus on my lists instead of allowing the Lord to set my focus.
Jesus corrected Martha and encouraged her to look at her sister in a different way. Mary had chosen what was best and Martha was worried about things that were not important in the eyes of Jesus. The more I reflect on this passage the more I think Mary gets a bad rap. At first glance it appears that she is lazy and doesn’t care about what needs to be done to host all the people who have arrived at their home.
Perhaps the reality is Mary did care and knew just as much as Martha about what needed to be done. It was her focus that was different. Mary knew the most important thing was spending time with Jesus. Not listening from the other room as He spoke, picking up a word or two here and there, but sitting at His feet and soaking in what He had to teach her and those around her. Mary knew the people would wait to be fed and no one cared if there were cobwebs in the corner.
Possibly it’s not that Mary didn’t care about the preparations, she just didn’t allow them to distract her.
My nature is to be more like Martha. I love helping to create special times for others and doing things that will bless them. There’s nothing wrong with blessing others – God appreciates it as this is how He created me.
The key is focus. If all my plans distract me from focusing on Jesus and what He has to teach me then like Martha I am worried and troubled about things that aren’t needed.
Keeping my focus on Jesus brings all other things into perspective.
How is your focus as the Christmas season begins? I hope you are beginning each day with some time with the Lord, seeking what is best for your day in His eyes then allowing everything else falls into place.
I’m going to work on my focus. I pray the Lord will show me where to focus my mind, energy, and especially my prayers to have the most impact for Him. I’ll share what He shows me with all of you throughout the month and I hope you’ll share with me what He shows you.
Together let’s focus on CHRISTmas and all we have to learn from the babe in the manger.
blessings and peace to you…