Am I the only one that gets stressed out at the holidays? Overwhelmed with the endless list of “to-dos and to-buys.” The baking, cooking, decorating, social engagements and gift-giving become a serious source of stress for me.
Although I love to give and receive gifts, I struggle with knowing what to buy for others. How often have you said or heard “I need ideas on what to get you for Christmas?”
Why is there so much pressure?
It is during the holidays that I feel the most like Martha (and not Martha Stewart!)
If you aren't familiar with the Biblical Martha, let me share her story – Martha and her sister, Mary host a dinner party with Jesus as the guest of honor. Martha is all about the preparations and her sister Mary is all about Jesus. Martha becomes so exasperated that she voices her complaints directly to Jesus – “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” (Luke 10:40) Jesus replies: “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.””(Luke 10:41)
Jesus’ reply cuts directly to my heart.
I wonder if we can become more like Mary during this “season of giving” if we take a moment to reflect on the source of generosity … the generosity of God?
Maybe we would do well to listen to Jesus’ advice.
So, this year I've decided to calm the madness by starting each day reading a chapter from the Book of Luke (it just so happens there are precisely 24 chapters in Luke providing a chronology of Jesus' life.) This plan will take me all the way to the finish line- December 25th!
What I’m finding is my stress level diminishes the more I focus on Christ and His graciousness and generosity.
I love the Jesus encounters that are documented in the Book of Luke where Jesus graciously steps in and extends unrequested generosity. Jesus knew exactly what was needed without anyone having to voice a single request!
Explore this with me...
Luke 7:11-17 –
Jesus witnesses a funeral procession and observes a grieving mother. He is filled with compassion for her and intervenes; giving her back her son!
No request made.
“Soon afterward[a] he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him. As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” Then he came up and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus[b] gave him to his mother. Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and “God has visited his people!” And this report about him spread through the whole of Judea and all the surrounding country.”
How about- Luke 13:10-13:
We find Jesus in the middle of teaching at church when He observes a disabled woman. He stops everything and calls her to Him, places His hands on her, and she is immediately healed.
Again, no request made.
“On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her; he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.”
Luke ends this particular chapter with “…the people were delighted with all the wonderful things he was doing.”
Shouldn’t we too be filled with delight at all the wonderful things Jesus is doing in our lives?
Shouldn’t that overshadow ALL our stress and anxiety?
Jesus always knows the perfect gift needed in our lives, and we don't even have to ask for it!
So, let’s stop the Martha madness this holiday season and become more like Mary. Relish in the endless generosity of a God who provides all good things.
When we focus on God's generosity stress evaporates, and we find what is better- Christ.
Isn't He the reason for the season anyway?
Thank you Father for the gift of Christ and His endless generosity. It is in your presence that peace is found. Help us this holiday season to let the hussle and bustle dim and bring focus instead on you- the reason for our celebration!
"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." ~ Lamentations 3:22-23