Don't Let Busyness Steal Your Christmas Joy

By Martha Stringer

I'm late…I'm late…I'm LATE! Street light turn green now…now…NOW! Go, buddy, go! What shade of green are you waiting for? Oh, I hate to be late. And today I just don't have time for it. I've got to drop these cookies off at school. I've got to run to the mall and pick out a sweater TODAY so I can get it wrapped and shipped out TOMORROW before I've got to pay more to mail it than its going cost to buy it. Then it's off to the grocery store to pick up cream of tarter. What is that stuff anyway? And what's it doing to enhance the taste and texture of the next creation of Christmas confections I promised to supply for some sure to be festive (NOT) function? Oh, that reminds me. I've got to drop that blouse off at the dry cleaners so I can look fetching at that festive function. I'll do that after the mall.

The mall…parking there oughtta be fa la la fun. I'm sure I'll have to stalk some weary shopper as they wander around the lot trying to remember where they parked. Here…? They'll pause and fumble with their keys and my hopes will soar. Yes! And so close to the entrance! Then…no! They'll have a sudden revelation and disappear between the rows leaving me with no place to park. Oh, *#$&! (insert your favorite Christmas shopping expletive here). I don't have time for this! I bet that distant relative sweater recipient will probably exchange it anyway. What size does she wear again? I'm sure it's on my list. Now where is that list…my list….MY LIST! Oh, *#$&!

"Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things…"

I know, I know! I promised myself I wouldn't do it…won't do it…WON'T DO IT! Yet here I am another year, just like my Biblical namesake, all tied up in the trimmings. Typical Marthas. So frantically trying to preparing our homes to celebrate Jesus' arrival we forget to prepare our hearts.

I can just imagine Martha's house in the days leading up to the event: Jesus was coming! And this will be the best visit (Christmas) ever! Everything will be just right: the house will be spotless, the food will be gourmet and I'll look like a million shekels! Hey…wait a minute…do I have to do it all myself? Here He is! But there's still so much to do. And you're just sitting there Mary! Okay, you're at the Lord's feet listening to Him, but still - aren't you going to HELP ME?

In the gospel of Luke, Jesus said, "…but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."

Oh, Lord please, I want this year to be different. Give me Mary's heart so I'll be free of the merry madness this Martha-world tells me is the reason for the season. As all the blanks on the calendar are filled in, as the pressure to perform peaks, as dust bunnies dance a jingle jig under my tree, please no expletives. Help me remember you…you…YOU are the reason for the season.

Excuse me, Mary? Could you slide over? I see some room there by His feet.

Martha Stringer is a freelance writer living in Yardley, PA with her husband and three children. In addition to editing and writing a personal column for her church newsletter, she works part-time for a non-profit, social services agency. Contact her at


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