“My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” –Jesus, as quoted in Luke 10:41–42 NLT
“Are you ready for Christmas?” someone asked me this past week.
“Yes!” I answered.
She looked surprised and began to commend me, but I stopped her.
“I don’t have a single Christmas card written,” I confessed. “Most of the presents are waiting to be wrapped, and I’m still crocheting an afghan for my son. I should have it done by Christmas Eve. And I don’t have a single thing baked. But I’m ready for Christmas.”
She looked puzzled, so I explained.
“I’m not stressed this year because I’m savoring the unfolding of the season.”
This is, truly, “the most wonderful time of the year.” Anticipation fills the air. Kindness and compassion abound. Joy bubbles. Love spills over. Peace pervades the atmosphere. And I don’t want to miss it by letting the Martha in me overrule the Mary in me.
Over the years of exhausting myself so much that I couldn’t truly enjoy Christmas, I’ve learned a few things.
First, I’ve learned that I don’t have to do it all myself. I’ve learned to let others help.
My son, his girlfriend, and her parents will be with us Christmas Eve. I planned an easy menu that doesn’t require hours upon hours in the kitchen preparing food. Soup, sandwiches, veggies, and dessert. Simple. I’ll provide the soup and sandwiches, and David and Kristin will bring the veggie tray and dessert.
The focus, I’ve come to realize, is not on the food but on family. Time with them is precious and more important than a feast that leaves me wiped out after preparing.
I’ve learned to say “yes” when someone asks if they could do something. Set the table, put out the food trays, light the candles, fill the ice bucket. I know how good it makes me feel when I can help. Allowing my guests—even children—to lend a hand gives them a feeling of being accepted, valued, and needed. More than welcome. Not so much a guest as a cherished friend or a beloved family member. You can’t put a ribbon or a price tag on a gift like that.
Second, I’ve learned that I don’t have to do everything. I’ve learned to let some things on the to-do list go.
I’ve learned that everything doesn’t have to be perfect. I used to strive for a spotless, sparkling, picture-perfect house. I was worried how it would reflect on me if my home didn’t look like a scene from House Beautiful or Good Housekeeping. But I’ve learned that no one looks at the baseboards.
What’s more important than a perfect house or a feast fit for a king is the Spirit of the Babe born in Bethlehem that cold night so long ago filling my home with love, joy, and peace like the fragrance from a scented candle.
I don’t need things done to be ready for Christmas. My heart, mind, and spirit are already celebrating.
What about you—are you ready for Christmas?
As I light the third Advent candle, remind me, Father, that it isn’t so important that my home is ready but that my heart is. Amen.
© 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.