Last Sunday here at E-Free church in Gaylord, Michigan, we kicked off a new holiday message series that we are calling "Avoiding the Christmas Crash." The goal of this series is to help each person to experience the most joyful and peaceful Christmas that they have ever had. Or to put it another way - this series is our way of wishing you a "Mary" Christmas!
We saw last Sunday from Luke 10 a story in the life of Jesus when two sisters, Mary and Martha (who had a brother names Lazarus that Jesus would later raise from the dead), invited Jesus and His disciples over to their house for dinner. Now how would you react if Jesus accepted a dinner invitation at your house? Mary and Martha responded differently.
Mary was a worshipper. While Jesus is at her house she spends her time sitting at His feet, listening to Him. Not Martha! Martha is in the kitchen. Jesus is sitting in her living room but she is zoned in on one thing - the PREPARATIONS!!! After all, much would need to be done if you had Jesus and 12 of His friends coming over to your house for dinner.
After a while, Martha goes out and in a huff asks Jesus to tell Mary to help her with all that needed to be done. I love Jesus' response. He begins by telling Martha that she is distracted by so many things. He goes on to say that Mary had chosen the good thing -spending time with Him.
The truth is that most of us are pretty much like Martha when it comes to Christmas. There is so much to do. It isn't just the "most wonderful" time of the year, it is also the "most busy" time of the year. Christmas is all about Jesus, but we get so distracted with all of the preparations that we miss "the good part" of Christmas - spending time with Jesus! Sunday I ended the message by encouraging you to take to heart 3 insights.
First, LOOSEN up! If all the decorations don't get put up - that's OK! If all the cookies don't get baked - that's OK. If there is only 24 side dishes for Christmas dinner rather than 25 side dishes - that's OK! If all the presents don't have hand made bows on them - that's OK!
Second, LIGHTEN up! Martha, due to her distraction with the preparations, attempted to draw Mary away from sitting at the feet of Jesus. Sometimes in our zeal to have the "perfect" Christmas we can rob others in our family of joy and peace. Let's not do that this year!
Third, LISTEN up! Decide now that each day, now and all the way through December 25, you are going to carve out some time to sit at the feet of Jesus, talk to Him, sing to Him, and listen to Him through His Word.
I wish you a "Mary" Christmas!