Summary: Christmas doesn't come from a store.

“How to Prepare for a Stress-Less Christmas”

“As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 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! 41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42

Intro: Christmas doesn’t come from a store.

A few days before Christmas

two men decided to go cross bow hunting for deer while their wives went Christmas shopping.

The men drove their truck way back through the woods.

As the men went to their deer stands a terrible cold wind started blowing.

It began to storm with freezing rain mixed with snow.

Finally after a couple hours having seen no sign of deer they decided to return home.

On the way out…, the truck got stuck in the mud.

Using a shovel they each took turns digging and pushing…, trying to get the truck unstuck.

Covered in mud and soaking wet

one of the guys looked at his buddy and said,

“You know…, this sure beats Christmas shopping with our wives.”

What should be the greatest season of the year,

which should bring the greatest joy and warm our hearts,

instead often brings stress and heartburn, headaches and depression.

The stress associated with the Christmas Holidays

often makes what should be the most wonderful season of the year a miserable mess.

Every year I meet people who are so stressed out they say they are dreading Christmas..., They can’t wait for it to be over.

That’s why we are going to talk about “How to Prepare for a Stress-Less Christmas.”

The stress that plagues people at this time of the year is rooted in three basic sources;

I. TIME (getting everything done),

“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of (your time)

every opportunity, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:10

a. be very careful---sounds an alarm, is a warning of danger

b. wise or unwise use of time

c. days are evil---indicates we are in a spiritual battle

It is important that in your life…, you spend time on things…, that are worthy of your time.

There is story in Luke 10:38-42.

It is a story about how to deal with stress.

Poor Martha understood what stress was,

rushing around trying to get everything ready – after all Jesus was in her house.

Martha surely represents every person who is so worked up about getting everything done that needs to be done so that they can “enjoy Christmas.”

Stress can result from anything that.

Some of the symptoms of stress are:

• Frequent headaches.

• Irregular heartbeats.

• Getting dizzy or light headed.

• Indigestion or nausea.

• Difficulty with sleep.

• Waking up tired.

• Anger or irritability.

I think we can safely say that Martha was familiar with these.

I think that we can see some of the traits of the Stress-Prone in the life of Martha.

Perhaps you see some of these characteristics reflected in your own life.

1. Always in a hurry

2. Never enough time

3. Putting God second or third or last place

Just like some of you are thinking about other things right now

while you try to look like you are paying attention to this sermon.

Your mind is on other things, other places.

That sure sounds like Martha…, does it sound like you?

One translation of verse 40 reads, “Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.”

That sure sounds like our lives today.

Like Martha we can get so distracted by what we consider the many necessary things that we miss the point.

By focusing on the minor things we miss the major…, what is the most important.

Notice what Jesus tells Martha in verse 42, “Only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better.”

What Martha had chosen was not bad.

All the things that she was doing were good,

but not all the things she was doing were necessary.

Perhaps all of the preparations you have planned for Christmas are good, but are they all necessary?

The thing about Martha’s situation is that no one had assigned her all these duties,

she was the one who had decided what “had to be done.”

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