MARY CHRISTMAS OR A MARTHA CHRISTMAS Andy Hollifield 12-25-18
Luke 10:39-40 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. (40) But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him , and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Bid her therefore that she help me.
After 30 plus years in the ministry, it is amazing how God can take a single verse or two of scripture and show you something you have never thought about before. A friend of mine commented about this scripture with the thought of ‘What kind of a Christmas are you having?” So that is my thought for this day thanks to my friend from the hood, Sharon Rice.
Isn’t is something how that we can get so wrapped up in all the things that just have to be done before Christmas that we sometimes lose sight of why we are doing them and for who? It goes far beyond the recipient of the gifts and the perfect Christmas meal or candy or whatever else we seem to be so consumed with. Most of the gifts will be forgotten by next year and we will all likely eat too much and make ourselves miserable. For those of us that are diabetic, we will eat far too much candy and send ourselves into a mini-coma with a sugar spike shortly after we finish eating. So knowing there is a down-side to all the things we deem important, why do we allow ourselves to get so consumed with them that we end up taking the joy right out of Christmas for ourselves and often those around us? Probably because old habits die hard.
That was all the kind of stuff that Martha was obsessed with. Being the perfect hostess and making sure everything was just right. There is nothing wrong with that as long as you can handle it. For some, doing those things are their joy of Christmas while for others it is a chore and drudgery and they are glad when it is over. I spend weeks every year from mid-October all the way through Christmas Eve making sure every thing is done and I haven’t missed something. I have to be careful not to let the work overshadow the worship of our Savior.
This year the last thing was a Spiderman trike and a pair of shoes. Even though I didn’t find the exact trike, I did find a pair of Spiderman shoes that light up and a small red trike for this 2-year-old boy. I don’t even know him but I do know he has enough drama in his life because he is one of the clients children at one of the ministries we help. We don’t usually buy trikes and big stuff but this was in conjunction with Help 4 Kids. Now for the Christmas spirit part of the story. While I was shopping for it, I ran into a couple I know and their son. They asked what I was doing still shopping and I explained. This lady opened her pocketbook and said, “We’re going to buy that trike for him.” After trying to convince her that she didn’t have to do that, she agreed with me and said they were going to do it anyway. Her husband told me that I wasn’t going to win so I took the money. Stuff like that is what makes Christmas for me. It wasn’t so much the trike or the shoes but just knowing that somewhere in the morning, a wide-eyed two-year-old will be excited and riding around the room on his trike with his Spidey shoes flashing and for a little while, all will be right with the world. Also knowing that his momma will be sitting there, thankful that someone loved her child that much. I am sure she will at some point realize that God loves her and hasn’t forgotten where she is or what she needs.
As bad as I hate to shop and especially on Christmas Eve, today was a pleasure. I made my multiple stops knowing that I was going to be making someone happy. I have seen the time when it was all drudgery and work and I was glad to see it end. I guess in some ways, at least from a fatigue standpoint, I am this year. But, at the same time, I will miss the contentment of seeing the smiles on people’s faces as they help others. I always miss the love that goes into the shoeboxes and other gifts. I will also miss the thankfulness with which these agencies receive gifts for their children. There is so much heart-warming stuff that we don’t see as much throughout the year. To see folks appreciating the fact that God gave to us what we couldn’t provide for ourselves is a joy. He gave his Son freely without obligation and requiring nothing in return. He loved us even though he didn’t have to and we had certainly done nothing to deserve it. Furthermore, he loved us just because he wanted to.
Martha had busied herself in drudgery while Mary had chosen to let everything else go and concentrate on the Lord and visit with him. Jesus told Martha that Mary had chosen the good part and it wouldn’t be taken away from her. That brings me to the question I started with: What kind of Christmas are you having? Have you chosen the good part? The part where you concentrate on the real meaning of Christmas. Or have you chosen to let it all pass by because you are busy? We are not supposed to be a slave to Christmas. It is commemorating the birth of our Savior and should be celebrated.
Somewhere throughout the course of your day, I hope you take time to see the magic and wonder in a child’s eyes. I pray that you will at some point, if just for a minute, take a look at the good part that God has blessed you with. More importantly, I hope you take time to realize what a great gift God gave to us. When I stop and think about the joy in children’s eyes tomorrow and knowing that God has given me the good part and it won’t be taken away, I can’t help but think of Calvary and the greatest gift that I received as a child; the gift of God’s love and forgiveness. Don’t be so “cumbered about much serving” that you fail to see “that good part” that God has blessed you with. You can have a Mary Christmas or a Martha Christmas. Which one will you choose? Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!