38 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 only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
In the village of Bethany, 2 miles from Jerusalem, Jesus and the disciples stopped, and Martha offered him hospitality. But while Martha’s bustling about the house, getting things ready (probably airing out rooms, beating out rugs and bedding), Mary is just sitting with Jesus and listening to Him talk.
Can you imagine what Martha feels like? All this preparation for all these houseguests to do, and her sister’s just off in another world, acting like she doesn’t need to help! That’s why she’s prompted to ask Jesus Himself in verse 40 to TELL Mary to get up and help.
But Jesus answers, in His serene fashion, that all Martha’s worries are needless. Yes, things like getting the house ready for guests and preparing food needs taking care of, but she shouldn’t agonize about it. What she should worry about is faith, and maintaining it, which is what Mary is doing. Mary’s absorbing all the spiritual lessons Jesus is giving, and becoming stronger as a result.
This is a lesson that is quite appropriate going into holiday season. So often we get tied up buying gifts, decorating, and cleaning house for guests, and we end up so stressed out, just like Martha. But when we’re overly focused on these more worldly concerns, we forget the REASON for the decorating, for the guests, for the celebration.
When we celebrate this season, especially as Christians, we are celebrating the day our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, came into this world as an infant, fully God and fully Man. We are celebrating His birth because of Who He is and what He represents: God and salvation, and a closer relationship with our God than we could have ever hoped for otherwise. This is how we build our faith up–by gathering together and worshipping as a family, and as a community.
Let’s take Mary’s example this Christmas, and just spend some time with God instead of with Walmart; after all, Walmart will take care of itself, but our faith won’t.