Summary: Let’s Do Incarnation Day Instead! Warning: Take your Prozac before reading!
Have Yourself A Mary Little Christmas!
I will admit it from the start that I am not enthralled about Christmas. Yes, when I was a kid I was into it like every other kid. What ruined it for me? Going to Bible College and studying the Word, Church History and various other courses pretty much kicked Christmas off my list of things to do.
Yes, I endure it from year to year and in an effort to be sociable or non-divisive, I have even read parts for plays or cantatas and attended parties. For the most part, I slide out of anything connected to it. I will share some of the reasons that I do not desire to participate and why I do not think born-again believers, especially Baptists, should do so. However, knowing that is not going to go over big and most people will consider me a twit and maybe a cultist, I will also give advice to those who feel they must continue the practice.
38 Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.
39 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 hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.
41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:
42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. (KJV)
In these passages, we have almost a perfect picture of the average Christmas person in Martha. Therefore, I suggest that you have a Mary little Christmas, if you must have one by first forgetting the flurry! People go absolutely bonkers trying to have the merriest Christmas ever by fighting each other in crowded malls over the latest fad item on the market that is extremely overpriced and will be picked up for a song most likely by the next Christmas. The presents must be better than they were last year and the feast and the tree must be bigger all in the name of celebrating Christ’s birth.
This sounds a lot like what Martha was doing. She was distracted. She was irritable and critical. (Vs 40) She was flying around the house trying to prepare this wonderful meal for Jesus getting all flustered and frustrated eventually lashing out at her sister. She even tried to pull Jesus into her frustration wanting Him to chastise her sister for her laziness, selfishness, unconcern and lack of appreciation of whom they were entertaining and getting ready to serve. She appealed to His authority to command Mary to get on the stick.
What she failed to see was that all Christ wanted was to be received. (Vs. 38) He wanted to be welcomed into their home and indeed into their hearts. He traveled about and undoubtedly had stayed in houses far more humble then hers and ate meals not nearly as grand as she was preparing. Yes, it appears that they were a wealthy family and were in a position to do more for Him in the way of lodging and meals, but that was not why He came there. He came because He loved them and wanted to fellowship with them. He wanted to teach them and enjoy their presence.
He had fed thousands with just a small order of fish and bread. He could have materialized a banquet like they could not have imagined out of nothing, but He was not into that. If He had been, He would have chosen to be born into royalty not as a carpenter’s son in a manger. Martha missed the whole point of His coming by her distraction and false assumptions of His will. Multitudes do the same thing every year during Christmas.
You can have a Mary little Christmas by focusing on first things! The things troubling us will pass. (Vs. 41) Martha was all excited about the meal and such, but in reality as much time and effort she put into it would soon be done and they would be clearing the table and doing the dishes. Hours of effort would be over in a moment and just be a memory after a few days.
All the preparation for that one big day will be over in no time and all you will have are wrappings and boxes to throw away and a mess of pine needles from a dead tree to clean up. Many folks will not enjoy it nearly as much as they could because they will be exhausted, irritable and broke as well as frustrated because they can sense that Aunt Millie did not like the gift they had run all over town to find. The kids will find a way to break at least one toy in a matter of minutes and the batteries will be dead shortly thereafter in the toys they did not break.