In the midst of the hustle and bustle of this holy and miraculous season, there is a Bible verse that is lingering deeply within my heart. This particular verse, though not associated with the Christmas story, seems to hold great truth for me this December day.
"Jesus answered her, 'Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed. And Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken from her'" (Luke 10:41-42).
I am quietly reminded by the Holy Spirit today, "Carol ... few things are necessary ... really only one."
What is that one thing that is the only true necessity of the Christmas season?
What is that good part that Mary had chosen?
What is that one thing that cannot be taken away from us?
What is it?
I am desperate to know what Jesus deems as necessary and good; I am desperate to involve myself in activities that are of eternal significance and are not mere temporary distractions.
What is it?
Jesus was watching both Mary and Martha that afternoon. Jesus and the disciples had arrived, probably unannounced, at the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus. Martha felt that it was her duty to feed Jesus and His band of brothers. It seems that she went huffing around the house in her attempt to accommodate the need of the day.
Jesus observed Martha's stress level and then His eyes rested on the restful Mary.
The act of heartfelt devotion that Mary had chosen that busied and harried day was to unobtrusively spend time at the feet of Jesus. While Martha was scurrying around, fixing, doing, baking, cleaning and preparing ... Mary was enraptured in the presence of Jesus.
Oh, how I want to be Mary in the midst of the busyness of Christmas! Oh, how I long to be the girl who is simply sitting at His beautiful feet and listening to His peaceful and comforting voice.
I confess ... I often feel trapped by expectations, celebrations, preparations and accommodations. I am often the one who is huffing and puffing around, rolling my eyes and tapping my fingers. I am often the one who is consumed by stress and who is undone by the incompetence of others.
But that is not who I want to be.
I want to be the girl who is sitting at His feet ... listening to His voice ... even in the month of December.
Especially in the month of December.
God sent His Son, Jesus, as a baby in a manger not to stress us out ... but to bring peace to our hurried and harried existence.
And so, this December day, I determine that the preparation that needs to take place in my life is not an external preparation of decorating, cleaning, shopping, cooking and mailing. But during this miraculous moment, the preparation that needs to take place is an internal preparation.
The preparation that needs to take place is in me and not around me.
I must prepare my heart for His presence. I must lose myself in all that He is. I must sit quietly at His feet and enjoy the peace that only He brings.
It is a decision of eternal significance and of heartfelt devotion. It is determining to choose the good part rather than the busy part.
It is choosing the holy part rather than the harried part.
Perhaps the Holy Spirit longs to say to you and to me this Christmas season:
"Don't be worried and bothered about so many things. For few things are necessary ... really only one. As you celebrate, chose the good part ... the eternal part ... the peaceful part ... which shall never be taken away from you."
Carol McLeod is an author and popular speaker at women's conferences and retreats, where she teaches the Word of God with great joy and enthusiasm. Carol encourages and empowers women with passionate and practical biblical messages mixed with her own special brand of hope and humor. She has written five books, including No More Ordinary, Holy Estrogen!, The Rooms of a Woman's Heart and Defiant Joy! Her most recent book, Refined: Finding Joy in the Midst of the Fire, was released on Aug. 1. Her teaching DVD The Rooms of a Woman's Heart won the Telly Award, a prestigious industry award for excellence in religious programming.
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