by Mike Genung
During the Christmas season, many messages swirl around us… Church events, school plays, get involved with ministry, Christmas parties, family obligations, stress, feed the poor, give to charity… do, do, do… If we don’t get it all done we’re not good Christians.
Some ministries send out letters proclaiming that Jesus is the reason for the season… then end them with pleas for money to help them “finish in the black at the end of the year.” (I don’t mind them asking for support, just don’t do it in the same newsletter where you just told me that Christmas is about Christ).
There are the countless social media and blog posts proclaiming Christmas is about Jesus. Many contrast something in the culture (Happy Holidays, red coffee cups, Santa…) with the baby in the manger.
Most don’t tell us what making Christmas about Christ is about other than Christmas services, nativity scenes, doing good works, and the occasional “be sure you spend a little time with Jesus.”
Last week I went alone for an overnight stay at a Christian retreat in Beulah, Colorado. I had the entire building to myself. It was just me, my Bible, God, and silence. After 24 hours of soaking in His presence, worshipping Him, listening in silence, and waiting on Him, my heart settled into a place of deep peace and contentment. There is nothing like the joy of setting everything else aside and going after the living God.
I want to suggest making this the main message for this month:
Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42
“Only one thing is necessary”… sitting at Christ’s feet… listening, enjoying Him.
That isn’t to say that Martha was wrong in fixing a meal. Christmas services, helping others, family get-togethers, Christmas trees and gifts, and red coffee cups are all good things we can enjoy. They’re just not the best.
If we build our life around the “One thing,” we can enjoy the others in their proper context. Building our life around the One Thing doesn’t mean giving God the leftover scraps of our time as we rush off to the other things… do, do, do… it means giving Him our heart. That only happens with extended time soaking in His presence, like Mary did.
So this Christmas season, consider:
Taking things off your plate, instead of adding more.
Saying no to the good so you can build your life around the best, the One Thing.
Going alone to a retreat for 24 hours so you can give God the best gift you can give Him – you.