• Dwight Dunn

Christmas Busyness: Nice vs. Necessary

When Jesus was a grown man, He visited his friends Martha and Mary who were sisters. The story doesn’t tell us about Jesus’ birth. However, the story helps us to celebrate Jesus’ birth properly. Jesus' friends Mary and Martha show us how to celebrate Christmas by helping us choose between what is necessary versus what is nice.

When Jesus arrived at their home, Mary sat and listened to Jesus teach about God His Father. Martha worked hard to prepare for Jesus’ visit. The Bible says Martha was ‘distracted with much serving.’ Martha didn’t like that she did all the work while Mary listened to Jesus. Martha asked Jesus to tell Mary to help her. However, Jesus said “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41–42).

Jesus' friends Mary and Martha show us how to celebrate Christmas by helping us choose between what is necessary versus what is nice.

Martha worked hard to provide for Jesus’ visit. While Martha’s preparations were nice, they distracted her from what was necessary. Martha was so worried about taking care of Jesus that she missed what Jesus was doing for her. Jesus gave them Himself and taught them about His Father.

Martha was so busy preparing for Jesus’ visit that she didn’t spend time with Jesus. We can understand Martha’s struggle especially during Christmas. We so distract ourselves with nice things at Christmas (decorating, exchanging gifts, baking and cooking, spending time with family and friends, and making memories) that we neglect what is necessary: enjoying Jesus’ presence and learning from Him.

Making Jesus the most important in our life helps us see His grace and peace and prevents us from being frazzled and frustrated. Seeking Jesus first gives us joy and helps us to enjoy life’s ‘nice things’ without being ruled by them.

Remember: When this Christmas seems very busy and you feel stressed, remember that only one thing is necessary.

Discuss: How can you be less distracted and more devoted this Christmas? What 'nice' things will you choose not to do so that you can focus on the necessary things?

Pray: An Advent Prayer for the Lord to Come

Renee Swope, “The Manger of My Heart” from Proverbs 31 Ministries


Prayer is a wonderful way to help cut away from distractions of the season and open your heart to prepare for the joy and hope of Christ's birth. Here is a sample prayer to use during the season to focus your heart and mind for the birth of Jesus Christ.

This Advent, Lord, come to the manger of my heart.

Fill me with Your presence from the very start.

As I prepare for the holidays and gifts to be given,

Remind me of the gift You gave when You sent Your Son from Heaven.

The first Christmas gift, it was the greatest gift ever.

You came as a baby born in a manger.

Wrapped like the gifts I find under my tree,

Waiting to be opened, to reveal Your love to me.

Restore to me the wonder that came with Jesus' birth,

When He left the riches of Heaven and wrapped Himself in rags of earth.

Immanuel, God with us, Your presence came that night.

And angels announced, "Into your darkness, God brings His Light."

"Do not be afraid," they said, to shepherds in the field.

Speak to my heart today, Lord, and help me to yield.

Make me like those shepherd boys, obedient to Your call.

Setting distractions and worries aside, to You I surrender them all.

Surround me with Your presence, Lord, I long to hear Your voice.

Clear my mind of countless concerns and all the holiday noise.

Slow me down this Christmas, let me not be in a rush.

In the midst of parties and planning, I want to feel Your hush.

This Christmas, Jesus, come to the manger of my heart.

Invade my soul like Bethlehem, bringing peace to every part.

Dwell within and around me, as I unwrap Your presence each day.

Keep me close to You, Lord. It's in Your wonderful Name I pray.

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