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Don’t let distraction crowd out Christ

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Have yourself a Mary little Christmas.

No, it’s not a typo. I wrote “Mary” intentionally. It’s a simple play on words, but the meaning it holds for you and me this Christmas season is paramount.

Luke 10:38-42 tells the story of Martha and Mary. You remember these two, I’m sure. I write about them a lot. That’s probably because I identify so very much with one of the sisters. I’m not going to tell you which one. OK, maybe I am, but first, let’s look at what’s going on in the passage.

Jesus (along with at least 12 disciples) arrived at Martha’s house in Bethany. This crowd was probably exhausted and looking forward to a home-cooked meal. In true Southern style, she “welcomed” them in with open arms, and meal preparations soon followed.

During this time, “Busy-as-a-bee Martha” glanced over and noticed that Mary wasn’t helping. Instead, she was sitting at the feet of Jesus, soaking in every Word.

Over time, this really began to grate on Martha’s nerves. She became embittered at her sister — OK, flat-out angry. After all, she was up running around attending to her guests, while Mary was simply sitting — just being still.

Unfortunately, I identify more with Martha. I probably would have been a little irritated myself. However, there was something that Martha didn’t realize — either that, or she just got so distracted that she forgot.

You see, Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem, and therefore, He would probably never visit Martha’s home again — at least not in His present physical form. This was probably the last time He would sit and teach in her home, the last time He would recline at her table…and Mary knew it. She was completely in tune with what was happening in the life of Christ. So much so, that Matthew 26:12 says she anointed His feet with oil that very night — “to prepare Me for burial.”

Unlike the rest of the disciples, Mary understood clearly that the Christ would soon be absent from them. She knew her time to sit at His feet listening to His teaching was limited, so no amount of serving or anything else for that matter was going to take that away.

Mary was intentionally still and Martha was utterly distracted.

My prayer for you and me both this Christmas season is that we will be intentionally still, so as not to miss precious time with Christ. I pray the distractions of the season — the gift-getting, the gift-giving, the house cleaning, the home-cooking, the money worrying and the stressful planning — all will only be on the periphery of our thoughts. I pray that Christ will have our foremost attention — that we will be intentionally still during a time that demands great activity.

Prayer: “And so, Father, I pray for myself and for my brothers and sisters in Christ that we truly would sit at Your feet this season. I pray that our hearts would be pricked when we find ourselves distracted from Your Word and that confession and repentance would bring us to rejoice in thankfulness. Thank You, Father.“

Steve and Belinda Kirk write the “Everyday Grace” devotional for the Johnstonian News. Reach them at 919-449-5745 and sbmkax@earthlink.net .

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