Hi Sweet Friends,
How are you today? How are you holding up?
Today is Monday, December 23rd and that means so many things. So. Many. Things.
I'm a highly sensitive person with a measure of ADD (legitimately on both of those things), so this time of year can leave me extra overwhelmed and emotionally exhausted if I'm not intentional about making space for my soul to breathe-- even small spaces, brief pauses, little moments-- they can all make a big difference. A difference in my perspective, in my ability to manage the details, in my ability to be present and intentional for the people that I love.
All of this rushing, shopping, wrapping, gifting, decorating, baking, errand running-- much of it is good, and done with the best intentions, but sometimes I feel (in that still small space in my spirit where God speaks to me) that it has gotten excessive and often causes us to place expectations on ourselves that we were never intended to carry.
While I'm not exactly sure how Jesus would want us to celebrate his birthday if he were here, right now, walking on the earth in human form, I can tell you it wouldn't require us to do all of the things we are doing.
As a matter of fact, when I sat down to write this post this morning I had created a list of "10 Ways to Keep Calm and Carry On Two Days Before Christmas". It was a good list. It had great suggestions on it-- like praying, and being silent. Like going for a walk and enlisting help from your family. I was going to suggest journaling and lowering your expectations.
I still believe that all of those things are important.
But, as I sat down to write this post this post and asked myself the question, How would Jesus want me to celebrate his birthday? what came to mind was the story of Martha and Mary.
Did you read verse 40? "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 was DISTRACTED by all the PREPARATIONS.
Like all of my preparations? Christmas preparations? Preparations for a day meant to celebrate Jesus, but that has become about so many other things.
Sweet friends, I'm not saying we shouldn't work hard over these next few days, or that we should stop everything and be lazy. I'm also not saying that we shouldn't buy gifts, and decorate and bake cookies and go shopping. Those are all good things. They are all sweet things. Celebrations can be beautiful moments of fellowship, and love expressed. They create memories and sweet moments of fun between friends and family-- the sweetest gifts that life offers.
But, when we have become so distracted by all of the preparations that we have stopped making time to sit at Jesus feet, then we've lost sight of the true meaning of Christmas.
What is that Jesus say to lovely Martha, who is hosting a party for Jesus in her home? She wasn't wrong in her desire to do the work necessary to be a good hostess-- she simply wanted everything to be perfect for him (I would have too!!). But this is what Jesus says:
"Martha, Martha. 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 from her."Sigh.
Only one thing is needed.
I could have given you my "10 Ways to Find Calm in the Chaos at Christmas" list and it might have helped you find some peace. As I said earlier, making space for prayer was on that list. But, what Jesus is saying here is even more profound...you don't need a list of 10 things...you only need to know one.
We're having a party for Jesus in our homes, and while there is so much that could be done, there is only one thing that is needed.
He simply wants us to spend time with Him. To point our children towards him. To set our hearts and minds on things above, and make space to just be with Him.
I can promise you I won't do this perfectly over the next few days. I can guarantee there will be moments when I will get overwhelmed by all that is left to do-- all that my kids are hoping I'll do (decorate gingerbread houses, bake cookies (we haven't made one yet!), wrap gifts, etc. etc. etc.), but I can also promise you that I will be meditating on these words. I'm writing them on a post it note and at the top of my to-do list for today...
Few things are needed-- indeed only one...
Hugs to you all. I hope you have a blessed, peaceful and very merry Christmas, and that you find time to rest at Jesus feet...even for just a few moments at a time.