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Being More Like Mary Than Martha at Christmastime

In Luke 10:38-42, Jesus decides to visit the home of a woman named Martha. When he arrives, he finds Martha distracted by all the tasks that come with being the host. Despite her harried efforts, it is the posture of her sister, Mary, that Jesus praises. With little concern for a successful social event, Mary chooses to sit at the feet of Jesus as he teaches those who have gathered for the meal. As the story comes to a close, Jesus says it is Mary who "has chosen what is better."

Though at first glance this doesn't appear to be a story we should look at during the Advent and Christmas seasons, writer Mayo Mathers thinks otherwise. In an article for Kyria.com, an on-line resource for Christian women, she confesses that hosting parties, cooking up delicious buffets, and shopping for gifts brings out the "Martha" in her. She had never given this much thought until she attended her church's annual Christmas pageant. She writes of her breakthrough moment:

As I sat in the candlelit sanctuary absentmindedly listening to the peaceful strains of "Silent Night," I wrestled mentally with a list of things to be done. When the congregation stood to sing carols, my lips moved unconsciously to the words while my brain mulled over various menus for our annual Christmas Eve buffet.
As in every Christmas pageant, the usual parade of bathrobe-draped children marched down the center aisle. A pseudo-weary Mary and Joseph shook their heads in dismay as the innkeeper turned them away. Having watched so many similar renditions of the Christmas story, it had become commonplace to me.
Realizing this, I felt a stab of guilt and bowed my head. Father, I prayed, let me see the story through your eyes tonight.
The young girl portraying Mary began to sing a lullaby to the child in her arms. Her voice was so pure, so full of love and awe, that I stared at her, transfixed, my distracted musings forgotten. Suddenly, it was as if the congregation had disappearedas if I had been transported back in time to the actual stable in Bethlehem.
As I listened to her song, wonder and immense gratitude settled upon me. Into my heart God whispered, If ever there was a time to worship me, it's now! This season is about me only, but each year you crowd me out with the inconsequential!

Mathers closes her article with these words: "Beautiful, delicious dinners are nice. 'Just right' gifts are delightful. But I'm learning that only one thing really matters: while I tend to be more like Martha, at Christmas, 'tis the season to be 'Mary!'"

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