As Jesus and his disciples were on their

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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 only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” –
Luke 10:38-42

There is perhaps no better place to see how stressful the Christmas season can become than the parking lot of a shopping mall in the weeks before Christmas. Some people, it seems, will run you over for a parking space.

Let’s face it, even with the best of intentions, the Christmas season can all too easily dissolve into a frenetic scramble to decorate the house, put up the tree, send Christmas cards, bake, shop, and attend various holiday gatherings. As we get ready to celebrate our savior’s birth, we need to be intentional if we are to avoid becoming “distracted by all the preparations.”

Especially at this time of year, Jesus’ teaching that “only one thing is needed” helps keep us focused on what matters most. This month’s Transforming Truth reminds us that Jesus doesn’t need the perfect feast prepared in his honor or a house decorated in Martha Stewart fashion. He asks only for our relationship, our time, our listening ears.

It’s not to say that holiday rituals are unimportant. It’s just to say that in the midst of it all, we need quiet time simply to be in relationship with Christ, to reflect on the meaning of his birth, and to hear what he is saying.