Christmas: Taking Mary Moments in a Martha World

Nicole Headshot in blue shirt

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

To-do lists to check off. Errands to run.  Gifts to purchase and wrap. Decorations to hang. Volunteering. Meals to make and treats to bake. Guests to host. Church services and special events to attend. (Is there sleep somewhere in all of this?) Life is a flurry of activities but particularly so in preparation to celebrate Christmas. In truth, many of these activities are good, decent and connect us more with one another. But the downfall of living in a privileged, first world nation is that our greater efforts extended toward these activities can reduce our focus on Jesus, Our Savior and Redeemer, to third class.

As we celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ this Christmas, how can we keep Christ front and center without allowing the season’s hustle and bustle to overshadow Him and overtake us? A New Testament story gives us the right approach.

The story of sisters Martha and Mary in Luke 10:38-42 depicts how life’s busyness can make us vulnerable from discerning the “good” from what is “better”—even when doing God’s work and good things:

38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[a] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Though this story occurred before our time, does it not describe today’s times? We are still hurrying, multi-tasking, not fully living in and taking stock of the present moment.  Our minds zip ahead to what needs to be done next, tomorrow and during the week while missing the key thing!

beautiful child

Jesus and his disciples had come to visit the sisters’ home. I repeat:  Jesus was in the sisters’ home! Martha was frazzled with preparations while Mary seized the moment and sat at Jesus’ feet to listen to Him. What an opportunity to be in the presence of our Lord and Savior!

Can you discern what God needs you to do now—or is life distracting you? Are you partaking in good and worthy activities, yet missing the better opportunity to bask in our Savior’s Presence?

In this holy season and every day, may we deliberately take Mary moments in a Martha world. May we still and quiet ourselves against life’s busyness to sit at the Master’s feet to expectantly hear what He will say to us. In all that we do, may we seek God’s wisdom to discern the “good” from what is “better.”

Merry Christmas!


Nicole D. Hayes is the founder of Voices Against the Grain, a bold teaching ministry launched in May 2013. Nicole’s purpose in creating Voices Against the Grain is to be light in darkness, to boldly instruct truth amid confusion so as to bring clarity and restoration.

Learn more about Nicole D. Hayes here.


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