Keeping a Mary Christmas
Welcome to this week's At the Well, where the topic is Keeping a Mary Christmas.
While it wasn't exactly Christmas when Christ stopped by the home of Martha and her sister Mary, I can imagine the hustle and bustle that ensued. The hurt feelings of Martha that her sister Mary wasn't doing her part in the preparations resulted in her going to Jesus, complaining about all that she was doing alone, and giving him the directive to tell Mary to help her.
I love Jesus' gentle answer. His heart went out to her. He understood that she was worried about many things; the preparation, the cooking, the cleaning, the "etc." in it all. But Mary had chosen the better part. Sitting at the feet of Christ and listening to what He had to say. He would not take that away from her.
The Bible doesn't go on to say that Martha threw her dishtowel up in the air and wept at the feet of Christ. It doesn't say that she stomped her foot in defiance and went on about her duties. It just doesn't say. Perhaps we are left to form our own response to Jesus' answer.
Christmas can be a hectic and holy time of the year. From the time you draw names on Thanksgiving night to the day before Christmas while the fudge is setting and you're dashing out the door to turn on the lights for the decorations outside, it's a time when priorities can get mixed up.
Are there areas which need to be simplified?
Are there areas in which do NOT glorify God and need to be rethought?
We always get together at my grandmother's house on Christmas Eve. It's a wonderful day filled with chattering with family and friends, watching babies crawl, walk, etc., and 4 wheeler riding if the weather cooperates and my cousin brings his 4 wheeler. Everyone brings something food-wise, and we snack until supper time, when we do a sandwich tray and veggies and fruit.
Last year we simplified the gift exchange idea. I'll never forget the Christmas that my uncle and I happened to be outside at the same time, loading boatloads of gifts in our respective cars. We looked at each other and said, "We ought to be ashamed of ourselves." While we had more in our own hands than many third world countries have sum total, we didn't need it. We all bought presents for everyone there. 20 presents. It killed us financially, but we did it each year until 2007. There were marriages and babies and it just wasn't realistic to ask so many young couples to spend the $$$ that they didn't have one gifts we didn't need. Steve and I breathed a huge sigh of relief, too.
We drew names among the adults. All the kids still got presents from everyone. It was so fun to be able to spend more on a good gift for a couple or a single, depending on whose name you drew, than to have to skimp on quality so you could do quantity. It also made it alot more fun to buy for the little ones. They had so many presents under the tree that they were ecstatic. We are not a materialistic family, but Christmas is the one time of the year, other than birthdays, that we do gifts, so the kids were thrilled to see the shiny boxes and bags and know that they had surprises in there. It's far better for the kids to get the gifts than the adults.
This year I'm also simplifiying cooking. I'm not making all the things I have in the past. I used to make fudge, another candy, 2 casseroles, a crockpot of some appetizer, a cake, etc. This year I am making fudge, a birthday cake, meatballs, and taking 2 gallons of sweet tea. We're doing an email loop to keep up with who is bringing what, reminding everyone of events and sales and things about Christmas...guess who was re-elected to do that on Thanksgiving? Me! That's okay! I love it. The organizer in me has a binder with sections for food, arrival dates, time to start gift-wrapping, etc.
One of the things I started last year was the birthday cake. After the blessing, we lit candles and sang Happy Birthday to Jesus. The kids blew out the candles and we knew why we were all gathered there.
I love this time of the year. When things do get hectic, I tend to retreat and read the Christmas story. It reminds me of why we celebrate this time of the year. That it's not about decorations, food, gifts, etc. It's about the birth of our Savior! May His Name be praised forever!Won't you join us At the Well this morning? Click here to visit...