Let’s all say it out loud: The holiday season can be extremely busy. Crazy busy! Is it too busy? Perhaps. During these weeks, we find a new hustle in our step to get it all done – from decorations to gift shopping, visitors to parties. The busyness of the season can be fun and also exhausting, often leaving us a bit depleted. The busyness can also snuff out the importance and the why for all that we are doing. Why are we eager to give gifts to those we love the most? Why are we taking an entire month to prepare to celebrate and open gifts? Why are we scrambling to find that perfect tree or the most festive wreath? My hope is that your answer isn’t, “To keep up with the Joneses.”

Perhaps you’ve forgotten the answer to the why. If so, you are not alone. Martha, in the Bible, had forgotten the why too. She wasn’t anticipating the coming of the king. The king was there in her home with her and her sister Mary. When we read Luke 10:38-42, we see two stark pictures: Martha, busy and distracted serving, and Mary, sitting at the feet of Jesus. Put yourself in Martha’s place…looking at Mary just sitting there when there were all these things that needed to get done…

 Here’s how we might think: Martha opened up her home to Jesus and is slaving away, selflessly serving Mary and Jesus. But what is Mary doing? She’s sitting. Mary never helped out during this scene. In our own situations this season, we might be frustrated because of the lazy relative who isn’t giving us a hand and is instead reading their Bible or singing or enjoying the fellowship of the guests. Even Martha asked the Lord, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone?” The problem with Martha’s question is that Mary understood the why. Mary understood the purpose of Jesus’ visit. Mary understood that Jesus—his presence—was of greater importance than running around anxiously trying to get everything accomplished.

The reality is that Martha’s service is commendable, but her heart was worried (10:41). She was anxious and wasn’t able to enjoy her guest. Mary wasn’t being lazy, she was being hospitable. Her heart was bent towards Jesus. As Jesus said, “Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her” (10:42). That blessed fellowship with the Savior and her beautiful inheritance would never be taken away from her (Psalm 16:5-6). Mary understood what was the most important aspect of Jesus’ visit and sat at his feet to listen to his teaching.

The craziness of our to-do lists this season may cause us to be too busy to reflect on our Lord and Savior. But he is the why. He is reason for all of our running around, gift giving, decorating and celebrating. So as we participate in these wonderful holiday traditions, let’s also pause to remember Jesus. Let us, like Mary, take every opportunity this season to sit and enjoy and wonder at our Savior.

Further thoughts for your reflection:

  1. When you open up your home to family and/or friends, intentionally remember the why of this season. How does that change your experience?
  2. Identify what it would look like for you to find moments in the midst of this crazy busy season to pause and remember Jesus. Be intentional about making this happen.
  3. How’s your heart this holiday season? Is it overwhelmed? Stressed? Tired? Anxious? Spend some time reading through the Psalms and remembering the why of this season.

(I would love for you to check out my new book, Enjoy, which releases on December 20th. And as a gift for those who chose to pre-order, I’ve written a devotional for you to use during the Advent season. You can find details here.)


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