The hustle and bustle of the Christmas season can be a trap, tied up with sparkling tinsel, shimmering ribbons and bows. What would it have been like if those who walked with Jesus celebrated His birthday with gift giving to Him and others? Would they give Him a surprise party? Imagine the household frantic preparations involved in the village of Bethany long, long ago...
The approaching celebration brought feelings of excitement along with apprehension for Martha. This year they were to have a very special guest at their table. The birthday honoree said He planned a journey through their area and would be stopping by for their fellowship. Heaven knows Martha had her hands full just caring for her brother Lazarus and their moonstruck sister, Mary. It seemed like if anything were to be done, she would have to do it herself!
Her family just appeared so wrapped up in the festivities that they ignored her nagging about the urgency of a thorough house cleaning. Will they ever learn to pick up after themselves? A woman's work is never done! Martha knew only too well what Christmas meant. It would take every bit of her organization skills to make that day a success. She still faced a great deal of unfinished work. Chores included: sewing and weaving, plus the cleaning and cooking.If Mary and Lazarus realized the truth about her long tedious hours of labor, they would surely appreciate her more. Many days she rose before daylight, and remained awake at midnight to work uninterrupted on their Christmas gifts.She planned to surprise Mary with an area rug. After becoming acquainted with Jesus, she always seemed to be on her knees in worship and prayer. Now she'd have something special to kneel on. The practical gift would make Martha’s laundering routine easier. Lately Mary’s skirts were badly soiled from her many hours of kneeling in prayer.
Lazarus would be pleased with Martha's gift of new sandals. After Jesus’ raising Lazarus from the dead, she rarely saw her brother. He daily walked around his community with the miraculous personal story of his second chance at life! Yes, his old sandals were a disgrace! What would the people think about Martha, for letting him be seen in public like that? To Martha, Christmas became a four letter word: Work!
Mary just couldn't seem to keep her head out of the clouds, heaven seemed nearer every day! Jesus talked about His home with the Father so often, that she felt more at home there than in Bethany. To her, Christmas is not so much a time of doing, as it is a time of being...Christmas created thankfulness to the Father for the gift of His Son. Christmas is being at peace in a world of trouble and tribulation. Christmas is being promised eternal life, as Jesus explained before He raised Lazarus from the grave. Yes, Mary could hardly wait for Christmas! Jesus shared many times in their conversations the story of the first Christmas, how His earthly parents provided warmth and protection for Him in a stable, that first home away from home. As she thought of His vivid descriptions she could almost hear the heavenly chorus announcing His birth to the shepherds...Suddenly another sound brought her back to the here and now. Martha called her, needing help with the chores. Jesus could arrive at any moment! Christmas...to Martha, it is a four letter word: Work! To Mary it is also a four letter word: Love! How do you spell Christmas? The choice is yours. Are you a Mary or a Martha? “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth, peace, goodwill toward men (Luke2:14 NKJ).”
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