Christmas 2020 is here. For many hope of having a large family gathering swirl in ever decreasing circles like water flushing down the toilet bowl. Going. Going. Gone.
What once seem a norm has temporarily been put on hold. Travel plans squashed by well meaning governments (worldwide). Well meaning or not it doesn’t help to lessen the feeling of something is missing. Something feels off with Christmas.
Is it even Christmas if the family is not together? Even the one you dread seeing, because unforgiveness lingers in the air like a dark cloud. Threatening thunder and lightning to erupt at any moment pouring out every drop they have held in ever so closely until bam it spills soaking all in its path. Yeah, even that person is missed at Christmas.
As Jesus and the disciples continued on their journey, they came to a village where a woman welcomed Jesus into her home. Her name was Martha and she had a sister named Mary. Mary sat down attentively before the Master, absorbing every revelation he shared. Luke 2:38-39TPT
Martha busied herself in the kitchen when Jesus and friends came visiting. There was things to do, food to prepare for her guests. Wait, they were not only her guests but also the guests of her sister Mary, and brother Lazarus. Yet we don’t see either of her siblings helping. My guess, and it is a guess is that men didn’t help in the kitchen in that era. So that lets Lazarus off the hook. This explains why Martha was only annoyed with Mary who chose to sit and listen to Jesus rather than help in the kitchen.
But Martha became exasperated by finishing the numerous household chores in preparation for her guests…(Vs 40a)
It’s easy to get annoyed with family and friends when we get together, there they are fellowshipping with each other while you feel stuck with all the food preparations. Huh, that’s when the cupboard doors and pots bang and clang a little louder. Surely, someone will take the hint and offer to help.
Martha spoke up about her lack of help in the kitchen. She didn’t quietly and gently whisper in Mary’s ear to get her sweet-self off the floor and into the kitchen. Nope. She went straight to the Lord and complained to Him.
so she interrupted Jesus and said, ‘Lord, don’t you think it’s unfair that my sister left me to do all the work by myself? You should tell her to get up and help me.” (vs 40b)
Oh my, who of us have not grumbled to the Lord concerning lack of help. Martha was a doer, it was her way of honoring her guests. Hospitality was her thing. Though at this point she was serving stressed and not with grace. Family gatherings are smaller this year, you would think stress levels would be lower with fewer guests to cater for. For some, yes it will be less stressful as they welcome the slower, quieter pace. For others, especially today’s Martha’s will be working all out to make up the difference felt by the absence of cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents not in the same room. And today’s Martha’s will get exasperated, tired and generally not feeling the joy.
The Lord answered her, “Martha, my beloved Martha. Why are you upset and troubled, pulled away by all these many distractions? Are they really that important? (vs 41)
The Lord knew the answer to the question He posed, “Are they really that important?” Not in the bigger picture they weren’t. In the light of eternity Martha’s kitchen delights could wait. He had truths to share with them that would change their lives from the inside out. I doubt Martha felt her kitchen delights could wait. If they waited any longer the gravy would burn, and the veg would go cold. No, she needed help now why else would she interrupt the teacher.
Mary has discovered the one thing most important by choosing to sit at my feet. She is undistracted, and I won’t take this privilege from her” (vs 42)
Ah, Mary had discovered something Martha was yet to discover. Mary was undistracted, while Martha was upset and troubled, pulled in many directions distracting her from the Lord and her guests. I don’t think Jesus, or His disciples expected a huge banquet when they stopped at the house. I get the impression an abundance of food is exactly what Martha was going for. In trying to over provide for her guests Martha was missing out being with the very ones who had come to see her. She was missing out on an historic moment; the Son of God was sitting in her house teaching truths. And she was running around in the kitchen like a chicken with its head cut off.
In years gone by I have had a dim view of Martha, she seemed a bit of a complaining busybody. While Mary, sweet, lovely Mary came across as Miss Goody Two Shoes the one as a Christian we are often encouraged to be more like. Jesus loved Mary, He also loved Martha. “Martha, my beloved Martha” vs 41. Martha was doing what came natural to her, she just needed to learn what was important and what was not.
When they came into the house and saw the young child with Mary, his mother, they were overcome. Falling to the ground at his feet they worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure boxes full of gifts and presented him with gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Matthew 2:11 TPT
Jesus didn’t want Martha striving to impress Him with her culinary skills. He wanted her heart. He wanted her to rest in Him. How much more enjoyable for Martha would the gathering had been if she realized she didn’t need to impress Jesus. How much more enjoyable would our Christmas gatherings be if we realized we don’t have to impress anyone with our culinary or decorating skills. We all like to eat, I’m sure Jesus and His disciples were grateful for the food Martha provided as are the guests/family who will be in our homes this Christmas. Don’t choose the kitchen over spending time with family, unless they are in the kitchen with you.
The Magi aka The Three Wise Men worshipped Jesus and gave their gifts to Him. We are treasure boxes filled with gifts. Oh that we would lay our gifts, talents at the feet of Jesus and worship Him. Whether we are like Mary, or more like Martha we are loved by the Lord just the same.
Merry Christmas 2020 from my family to yours
Remember live radiant in Christ.
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