It was evening. I was busily putting away a few things in the kitchen whilst mentally working out how I could fit everything in before Christmas: presents to buy and wrap; people to visit; cards to write; music to learn; duties to fulfil. It all seemed so big, so unattainable. (It is not really, but it so often feels that way, right?) I longed to rewind a month, before I started my new job, when time was slower and I had the flexibility to do things now or tomorrow or next week. Alas I no longer had that luxury, and so I began matching activities with a day and time. Then, out of nowhere and seemingly from above, I heard a name. Not my name. Not even a bloke’s name. ‘Martha.’ Tenderly spoken, the word ushered in a wave of peace that stilled every part of me. No further words were needed; I knew what God was saying. In that oft-told story from the New Testament, sisters Mary and Martha had Jesus round for a visit (Luke 10:38-42). Martha, though, let her gift for hospitality get the better of her as she anxiously sought to get everything done. In doing so, she did not realise that all Jesus wanted was for her to sit at his feet and simply take in all he was saying, just as Mary was doing. ‘Martha, Martha,’ Jesus says. ‘You are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.’ Clearly I was Martha when I needed to be Mary. And with that, I took the list of things to do and I put it to one side. I found a quiet spot and fixed my gaze on the stable where the feet of Jesus first lay. Suddenly I saw, as if for the first time, the peace of it all, the hope of it all, the joy of it all, the love of it all. It happened. It is real. It is for us. This is Christmas. Everything else is secondary. First and foremost, here I will rest and take it all in.
Happy Christmas! I hope you have a lovely day, and may God richly bless you in the coming year xx