Summary: A comparision between our actions around Christmas to that of Mary and Martha.
How many of you have braved the malls and stores through the busy times this Christmas season? I think you will agree that it can be a very hectic and stressful time for both our bodies and for our checkbooks. I have heard a number of stories from people telling me this. A lady was overheard telling the following story. “I was browsing in a souvenir shop when the man next to me struck up a conversation. Just as he was telling me that his wife was getting carried away with her shopping, a brief power shortage caused the lights to flicker overhead. ‘That,’ he sighed, ‘must be her checking out now.’”
I heard another tale that occurred on Black Friday. A long line of people formed in front of a store by 6 AM, the store’s opening time. A small man pushed his way to the front of the line, only to be pushed back, in the midst of loud and colorful curses. On the man’s second attempt, he was punched square in the jaw and knocked around a bit and then thrown to the end of the line again. As he got up the second time, he complained to the person at the end of the line, "That does it! If they hit me one more time, I’m not opening the store!"
Finally, I heard a story about a woman who was doing her last-minute Christmas shopping at a crowded mall. She was tired of fighting the crowds. She was tired of standing in lines. She was tired of fighting her way down long aisles looking for a gift that had sold out days before. Her arms were full of bulky packages when the Elevator door opened. It was full. The occupants of the Elevator grudgingly tightened ranks to allow a small space for her and her load. As the doors closed she blurted out, “Whoever is responsible for this whole Christmas thing ought to be arrested, strung up, and shot!” A few others nodded their heads or grunted in agreement. Then, from somewhere in the back of the elevator came a single voice that said, “Don’t worry. They already crucified him.”
We’ve forgotten something in all the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season. We’ve forgotten that this is supposed to be all about one thing. We need to remember who is responsible for the whole Christmas thing, and it is all about how God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son so that who ever believes in Him might have eternal life. It sounds so simple doesn’t it? I think maybe that is how it was meant to be.
I want to take a look this morning at how we can simplify Christmas. Sure, we do a lot of good things at this time of year, but I think there is a story in the Bible that can help us simplify our lives even during this stressful season. Turn with me to Luke 10:38-41 or follow along in your sermon notes.
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."
This morning, I want to give you some tips on how we can simplify Christmas. This will allow us to have a much more enjoyable and merry Christmas. Before we begin, however, let’s look to the Lord in prayer.
We Must See Things As God Sees Them
For fifty-one years Bob Edens was blind. He couldn’t see a thing. His world was a black hall of sounds and smells. He felt his way through five decades of darkness. And then, he could see. A skilled surgeon performed a complicated operation and, for the first time, Bob Edens had sight. He found it overwhelming. “I never would have dreamed that yellow is so…yellow,” he exclaimed. “I don’t have the words. I am amazed by yellow, but red is my favorite color. I just can’t believe red. I can see the shape of the moon – and I like nothing better than seeing a jet plane flying across the sky leaving a vapor trail. And of course, sunrises and sunsets. And, at night I look at the stars in the sky and the flashing light. You could never know how wonderful everything is.”