Saturday, December 20, 2008

Culture War: Priorities

There are only a few shopping days left before Christmas. You're likely going to brave the weekend crowds at the mall, scramble to find something off the shelves that have been picked clean, struggle to come up with what to get your in-laws, and all the while forget why you're doing this to begin with. Then you'll head home, look at the pile of dishes in the sink and think about the family coming over in just a couple of days and all the cleaning and rearranging of furniture that needs to be done before then. And if you're like me, you still need to get that last string of lights up on the house and decorate the tree.

Can you relate? Do you feel hurried, stressed, overwhelmed? Do you wish there was just one more week before Christmas? I do. But then I'm a lot like Martha, who in Luke 10 is described as being "distracted by all the preparations that [have] to be made." (Luke 10:40) But then we forget what we're preparing for. Yes, we want Christmas to be memorable for our children and we want them to have everything they asked Santa for (within reason). We want to be warm and hospitable towards our family and friends. But what about "the reason for the season?" What about Jesus?

Are we reflecting Christ when we lose our patience at the store? Do we show the love of Jesus to our children when we lose our temper as they try to get into every present that's already been wrapped and hunt for the ones that aren't? Are we really being a witness to our families when what's most important to us is getting everything done?

I write this for myself. My wife reminded me this morning that we needed to take time and get into God's word, lean on Him in our stress, and not be overwhelmed with our "to dos". I need to be more like Mary, who knew that "only one thing was needed." (Luke 10:42)

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. 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!"

"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her." (Luke 10:38-42)

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