What’s Important This Christmas

Jesus said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. Only a few things are important, even just one. Mary has chosen the good thing. It will not be taken away from her.” — Luke 10:41-42 NLV

I’m a Martha. I admit it. And never is my “Martha-ness” more apparent than on Christmas morning. If Jesus were here, He’d admonish me, but I can’t seem to help myself. I’m up at dawn, rattling pans, getting ready for my family to come for brunch. Sixteen kids and adults descend on us, and they come hungry. I can prepare some food ahead, like banana bread and a breakfast casserole, but cinnamon rolls, sausage biscuits, and blueberry muffins have to be baked at the last minute to make sure they’re hot.

Our family loves to give humorous gifts. Year after year, the leopard-print footie pajamas appear. Someone gets an embarrassing framed picture of himself, an ancient flip phone, or fish slippers. Hilarity reigns! Last year I missed out on much of the fun, as I often do, because I was busily making sure everyone had coffee or fresh orange juice or a warm cinnamon roll. I didn’t even witness my granddaughter Ana’s ecstatic reaction when she opened the designer tennis shoes I’d given her.

By mid-afternoon, I’d finished cleaning the kitchen, having refused help from anyone. Jesus, I’m just mad, I told Him. Why couldn’t I be more like Mary, recognizing what was truly important rather than striving to be a good hostess? I thought I heard Him whisper, It’s not too late.

Next Christmas will be different. I’ll let people help themselves, and I’ll be part of the fun.

~Pat Butler Dyson

Faith Step: On Christmas Day and throughout the year, ask Jesus to help you determine what is really important.

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Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, His mother: “This Child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” — Luke 2:34-35 (NIV)

Christmas is a beautiful story about how God came to earth as a baby and dwelt among us. We love hearing about the shepherds, angels, and wise men following the star. It’s magical. But there are elements we don’t hear much about, even though these parts of the story are just as true and, I think, just as important.

Because I’ve been a mother, imagining Mary’s experience has been poignant for me. The line from today’s verse — about Simeon telling Mary that her heart will be pierced — doesn’t fit the warm fuzzy Christmas narrative. Instead, it highlights the other side of the story, foreshadowing what is to come. In this, we see at least two things: on a grand scale, that Jesus’s purpose was to die from the beginning, and on a personal level, that mothering is hard.

The moments when each of my children were born were the happiest moments of my life. But by becoming a mother I also made myself vulnerable to a lot of pain — the pain I’d feel when other people would hurt my children and even the pain I’d feel if I were to lose them. Simeon’s words remind me of the core message of Christmas:

God understands the human experience, and in Jesus, He came to redeem it all.

~Gwen Ford Faulkenberry

Faith Step: Read the entire chapter of Luke 2 and ask the Lord to give you fresh eyes. What other things that highlight the humanity of Jesus jump out at you?

Excerpted with permission from Mornings with Jesus 2022, copyright Guideposts.

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Your Turn

This Christmas, let’s be present! Yes, there’s a lot to do, but there’s even more to enjoy and take part in. Let’s not miss it in the busyness! ~ Laurie McClure, Faith.Full

For over eighty years, Zondervan has partnered with authors to deliver transformational, educational and vocational resources that renew minds, enrich lives, and change the world.

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