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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Have a “Mary” Christmas!

Tuesday-Aly's Christmas Concert at School,
Wednesday-All-Church Family Advent Night,
Thursday-Christmas Party at the "Smith's."
Send out invitations for an annual Cookie Exchange at our house.
Send out invitations for our Christmas party for Brian's employees.
Send out invitations for Ashley's birthday party.......

Wow! Is your calendar as busy as mine? AND- it's only the first week of December!

As we begin to jump into the Christmas season, and all of the activities that surround it, I am again reminded that I must keep grounded on what Christmas is all about- the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It is so easy to get caught up in all of the busyness, the things on all of our “to-do” lists, the shopping and entertaining…

As I catch my breath, and remind myself to slow down, God again uses “Mary and Martha” to teach me these lessons.

One of my favorite Bible stories is the story of two sisters, Mary and Martha. Both sisters loved Jesus, and He would often come to visit them. Now Martha, the older sister, had a servant heart, but could get caught up in all of the details and become distracted by her many tasks.

One day Jesus came to visit the women. Martha was preparing a meal for them while her sister, Mary, the Bible tells us, sat at the feet of Jesus. Well, as Martha was busy with all of the preparations, she allows her heart to go from serving joyfully and selflessly to getting angry that she is doing all the work alone.

As I read the story, I can picture Martha clanging the dishes, hoping to get Mary’s attention, banging the cupboard doors, and sighing loudly- you know, the “huhhhs”- expecting Mary to hear and get the hint! And, why do I think this? Probably because this is MY typical behavior when I am feeling sorry for myself in these situations!

Well, Martha finally blows, and she storms in the room where Jesus and Mary are sitting, and whines, “Lord! Don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

Boy, do I hear my own whining voice in this story, especially at this time of year. “Lord! Don’t You care that I am doing all of the work by myself? You know? The cleaning, the shopping, the wrapping, the cooking, the decorating, sending the cards, the baking… Make Brian help me!”

But, Jesus is not concerned with the fancy dinner, the decorations, the fluff. He tells Martha, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things. But, only one thing is needed and Mary has chosen what is better and it won’t be taken from her.”

You see, sitting at the feet of the Savior, drawing near to Him, listening to Him, being still and knowing Him- that is what is important and it won’t be taken from you. It is the “one thing” our stressed, tired spirits need! It is the “one thing” that I NEED!

This Christmas, we can get caught up in shopping for the gifts, stringing the lights, decorating the tree, singing the songs, attending the parties, the details and distractions.

But, my prayer for you is that this Christmas, you will experience THE gift- the Bright and Morning Star, the Prince of Peace, the Wonderful Counselor, our Hope, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, your Burden Bearer, Our Strength, and Our Salvation, Immanuel- God With Us.
My gift to all of you is the message that He loves you, you are His
Beloved, and that He wants to fill you with all joy and peace, both now, at
Christmas time and for the rest of your life!

“May the God of all endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with ONE heart and ONE mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. This Christmas, this New Year, and forever, “May He bless you and keep you. May He make His face shine down upon you. May he be gracious to you and give you peace.” Amen!

Questions to Ponder:

1. What steps will you take this year to keep Jesus the focus of Christmas?

2. What steps will you take this year to keep Christmas simple and free of stress?

Consider reading this awesome book from Focus on the Family filled with great ideas on how to keep Christ in Christmas. Our favorite idea is "Gift with Purchase."

Please visit me- I love to hear from you! Merry Christmas!

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Blogger LauraLee Shaw said...

This is such a lovely and timely devotion. And thank you for that book recommendation. I'm all over it. I truly think the only way for me (highly emotional being) to keep Jesus the focus of a simpler and stress-free Christmas is inhaling and exhaling the Word of God. I cannot see another way for me...thank you for the probe!

December 4, 2008 at 8:36 AM  
Blogger Patty Wysong said...

So fitting for this time of year for us! Thank you for this great reminder to do the ONE thing that is needed!

December 4, 2008 at 9:24 AM  
Blogger Dawn~^i^Brandon^i^, Jordan, and Seth's mom said...

Thank you so much for that gentle reminder....I too can picture myself clanging the cupboards and then wondering why the house is not so joyous!!!

Keeping my Joy!

December 4, 2008 at 11:55 AM  
Blogger Laurie Ann said...

Perfect timing for this devotion, Tracy. Definitely goes with the Mary Christmas At the Well posts - I'm slowing down by spending time with Him each night, no matter how busy I am...

December 4, 2008 at 2:24 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

Such a wonderful devotion.

December 5, 2008 at 5:51 AM  
Anonymous Twinkle Mom @ Sunflower Faith said...

If there is ever a great time to remember to be more like Mary and less like Martha, it has to be this time of the year,lol. It's funny how so easy we get focus on shopping or being perfect with decorations and sometimes getting upset that we lose focus of what we really should be doing all the more, remembering that our Heavenly Father's Son was born so we could all be saved and understanding the meaning of having true hope and peace at heart.

Wonderful reminder!

May we be MORE like Mary this time of the year and less like Martha.

December 2, 2009 at 9:15 AM  

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It is good to hear from you... thank you so very much for leaving a note on the table. That makes us smile!

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