December 1, 2016

It Begins ...

Cameron Tarrh

December is finally here. This month is by far my favorite time of the year, and I’m sure it is the same for many others. It is also one of the busiest times of the year for many. On top of all the regular errands and things to take care of, December brings Christmas shopping, traveling, parties, dinners, and much more. Also, along with the added busyness comes more temptations to neglect the things that truly matter. This is almost an oxymoron because Christmas time is supposed to be a time where everyone pauses and gives thanks to the Savior and to family and friends, but sometimes it can be so hectic and chaotic that it just flies by and people find themselves sighing with relief that they made it through.

I am reminded of a story in Scripture that I think we all need to stop and reflect on this month. It is not a part of the Christmas story, but it is found in Luke 10:38-42. This is what it says:

“As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 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!’ ‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.'”

This is a story about priorities. While Martha was not sinning by preparing for the Lord, it is clear she did not have her priorities straight by worrying more about what Mary was not doing.  While it seems like Martha’s intentions were noble, Mary recognized the importance of who was in front of her. Martha’s judgment was clouded by making certain things more important than they truly were but Mary was honored because she recognized what was truly important.

It is all too easy for us to fall into the same trap. When we have families coming to visit, or when when we hear and see messages on TV about the importance of presents and shopping, we can make those things more important than they really are. When people aren’t helping us the way we feel they should, it is easy to start judging them and to focus more on their walk with the Lord than our own. The most important thing of all is the very thing Mary did – sit at Jesus’ feet and listen to what He had to say. Mary was focused on what she knew was the right thing to do but Martha was too worried about other things and other people. Jesus even said that Mary would be rewarded for choosing to listen to Him over helping her sister. As people who minister to children and their families, it is very important that we understand this.

No matter what this time of year brings for you, remember to always stop and sit at the feet of Jesus – listening to His word and instruction and letting your mind be renewed as you grow in your understanding of the will of God. May your Christmas be blessed and filled with hope as you believe and trust in the Savior!