Luke 10:42 – (Jesus said,) “but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[f] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
During this time of the year, when the name “Mary” is brought up, we usually think of Mary, the mother of Jesus. She’s the young teen who found herself pregnant out of wedlock. Yes, she was engaged, but in those days, well, engaged women who became pregnant could be stoned to death.
I admire this Mary greatly … but the last few days I have been thinking another Mary in the bible. This Mary has a busy-body sister named Martha. When Jesus visits their house, Martha is running around trying to ensure her guests have a perfect experience at her house; all while her sister Mary sits at Jesus’ feet and hangs onto his every word. This Mary is not worried about decanting the wine or pressing fresh olives for oil to dip the warm bread that just came out of the oven. No, this Mary values hearing and learning from Jesus, the Messiah much more.
But Martha doesn’t. She is fit-to-be-tied by the time she addresses Mary’s complacent attitude with Jesus. Expecting Jesus to side with her opinion, she had to have been blind-sided when Jesus praises Mary for slowing down and spending time just sitting with him. In fact, Jesus praises Mary for doing this. He tells Martha that she has been focusing completely on the wrong thing. Jesus tells Martha to stop doing and focus more on being.
Us Martha’s of the world are shocked at Jesus’ response. Can’t he see that us Martha’s get things done? We do more before noon than some people do in a week! We keep the world revolving (or at least we think we do.) If God’s kingdom is going expand and grow, some Martha’s will be needed. Period.
But not at the expense of loosing what is really important, Jesus says. Come sit with me. Together, we’ll discover what is really important.
This topic is so challenging and important to me that I wrote a book about it, The Mary Experiment. I share how I have tried to bring more Mary-ness into my life and embrace more being in my life. While I certainly do not have this all figured out, I do believe small shifts can make a big difference.
Until it’s Advent and Christmas is around the corner.
Recently, I have been contemplating about having a Maryish run up to Christmas this year. Less doing and more being. Less trying to make everything perfect and more carefully choosing what really is important. Less trying to do it all and more intentionality.
Yes, I know there will be moments when I will be frantically trying to finish something in a short timeframe. This is just how I roll sometimes. Yet, I can choose to be less of a tornado and more of a gentle breeze this holiday season. It’s my choice how I want to journey through Advent and Christmas.
I choose whether to say “Yes” to things that I really just need to say “No” to.
I choose if I will overindulge, overbuy and over consume.
I decide what is more important and what isn’t.
I determine how much is enough and when to stop.
It’s all up to me. Yes, there are others who may depend upon us. But even then, we have he opportunity to draw healthy boundaries.
Here’s how I’m trying to embrace more being. Yesterday, we got our Christmas tree. I have a hard-and-fast rule about Christmas trees: I want a real one. Hubby Rick went with me and helped get it home. I spent the next few hours decorating the tree and downstairs of our house for Christmas. Christmas carols filled the air and I enjoyed pulling out the things that I love. Per usual, the whole process took way longer than I expected. But I was very intentional about taking time to enjoy doing this, no matter who much time it took.
Before I headed to bed, I did one last thing. The only lights on in the area where our tree is where the lights on the tree. I took my own advice from a couple weeks ago and I sat down and simply looked at the tree for a few minutes. It was not long. Nothing profound happened. I simply choice to sit and look at the tree for the time it took a Christmas carol to play.
And I breathed. My heart slowed down. This was some Maryness during Advent.
What can you do today to find a little Maryness? How can you stop doing and simply take a few minutes to be? I pray you will discover more Maryish this Christmas.
For the encouragement to have a more Maryish Christmas, I am grateful.
Holy God – If I am feeling a little stressed and distracted and angst about all the Christmas doings right now, please quiet my heart. May Mary inspire me to have a more Maryish Advent this year. Amen.