As I bump into people at the moment I often see frazzled faces.
Hear people who sigh with exhaustion.
Hear people proudly talking about how prepared they are for Christmas and how they had bought all their presents by the end of October.
Or listen to people who are stressed because they haven’t managed to do anything yet and are wondering how they will find the time to fit it all in.
There’s no denying that Christmas is a busy time of year. But part of me wonders how it got to be this way? How did this simple celebration, remembering the birth of Jesus Christ, in a lowly cattle stall, become synonymous with rush, long to-do lists and busyness?
I saw this great quote on Facebook a couple of days ago courtesy of The SITS Girls –
It’s not that I’m saying we should ditch everything, refuse to buy anyone any presents and serve baked beans for lunch on Christmas Day (although it this would help you and your loved ones to relax and enjoy Christmas Day better then maybe it’s a plan!).
But how did this time of year which is supposed to bringing glory to our King come to be so much about glorifying busyness?
How many times have you asked someone how they are and received the answer “busy” like it’s some kind of badge of honour?
How about we all get intentional about working out how we can ditch the unimportant stuff about Christmas, to prevent ourselves from being in a perpetual state of busyness and sit back and enjoy this most wonderful time of year?
I am reminded of the story of Mary and Martha, not a traditional passage of the Bible which is read at Christmas time, but in some ways could never be more relevant.
Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
All too often we end up being busy Marthas, anxious about the preparations.
Stressing about the Christmas cake and turkey.
Worrying about all the presents that need to be wrapped.
Resenting the amount of work that seems to fall on our shoulders without the help from other family members.
And yet, at the heart of this time of year is Jesus. Maybe we should be intentionally choosing to be more like Mary at this time of year than the busy Marthas the world seems to tell us we need to be.
Maybe we need to choose the good part.
I do not wish for anyone to feel under pressure by reading this devotion. I don’t want for anybody to think that on top of all the other things they need to be doing, now they need to be spending extra time with God as well.
Actually, what this devotion is about is giving things up.
Choosing to do less.
Choosing to enjoy the season more.
Choosing to say no to the glorification of busyness.
What can we give up this Christmas? What isn’t really all that important? What time can we free up to allow ourselves to decrease the busyness and increase the holiness? How can we choose the good part? Or as The Message translation puts it ‘The Essential Thing”.
Check out my book of Christmas devotions to spend some enjoying the Good Part this Christmas –
Photo credit – Crystal Leigh Shearin – FreeImages
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