How long are your ‘to do’ lists? Mine can be crazy long on any given day. Up at 5, constantly going through the day, and finally going to bed after 12. Then, add to that a busy Christmas season of gift buying, family parties, work parties, school parties, church activities, etc. and there is calendar overflow! For many of us, Acts 20:35 is our anthem and heartbeat: "I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'" (NKJV)
A couple of years ago, I had an extremely busy Christmas season. The church was busy. The kids were busy. Life was busy. Living in Canada, we always celebrated two Christmases: one in Canada and one in Michigan with our family. We getting ready for our Canadian Christmas plus our travel to Michigan for our ‘Michigan Christmas’, as usual. My days were filled with everyday tasks, as well as shopping for just the right gifts for our loved ones in Canada, plus ordering online for gifts that wouldn’t fit in the car to be shipped to Michigan for me to wrap once we arrived. Lists, lists, and more lists cluttered my counters as well as my head.
And then one day, I stopped home after buying some Christmas items for the church sanctuary and for the various Christmas special events at church. My kids greeted me at the door with “Hi Mom. When are we putting up our Christmas decorations?” They were serious. I was perplexed. We were planning to travel to Michigan right after our Christmas church service in Toronto, so decorating our house, when we would not be there, was not at the top of my priority list. But the excited look on my kids’ faces plainly told me that they expected to see Christmas everywhere—especially at our house. I wasn’t joyful. I now had one more thing on my busy, overflowing plate of things to do that day.
But God loves us and corrects us when we need it. It was like the Lord used that moment to get my priorities back in order, just like when Jesus said, “Martha, Martha thou art careful and troubled about many things,” in Luke 10:41. Remember the story? Jesus and everyone who traveled with Him showed up at Martha’s house and she was expected to care for them all.
Martha was busy trying to serve everyone who were there because of Jesus. But her joy was probably gone and she was overcome by all that she had to do. Her focus for ‘why’ she was serving everyone there at her house had somehow been pushed to the side by dread and the ever-increasing pressure of ‘how’ she would be able to feed everyone.
Perhaps she was absent the day when Jesus fed the 5,000? We don’t know what happened to her to get her to that point of being overwhelmed by things to do, instead of being overwhelmed by the joy of Jesus. I don’t fault-find with Martha too much because I know I’ve stumbled in my priorities just like she did. But, praise God, she adjusted and we can too! Thank God for His grace and mercy.
Be encouraged. Ladies, we must hold fast to our constant joy that comes from Jesus. We should have that joy every day and every season, of course, and not only at Christmas. Busy-ness and other things will always try to creep in to steal that joy from us. But, if we remember that Jesus is the reason for our ultimate, deep and eternal joy, we won’t allow the distractions that come overwhelm us.
Luke 2:10-11 says, Then the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. "For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. (NKJV) Be joyful for Jesus on purpose this Christmas season and every season. He is worthy. Jesus is the reason and source of our joy every day. Jesus is the reason for the season. Enjoy Him and have a very blessed Christmas.
No matter what is going on in the world, on our job, in our family, our focus should be on Jesus. When our eyes are on Him, our joy will be full and overflow. His love and joy will be able to flow through us to others like Jesus wants it to—which is why we celebrate Christmas
- Pastor Cheryl Ward