It’s that time of year again; we are heading into the holiday season which means your inbox and mailbox is about to be flooded with opportunities to buy. For some, we dread this time of year, the pressure, the overspending the feelings of overwhelm and confusion. For others, this is their high time, the circumstances in which they thrive. No matter what side of the fence you are on, consider this “is it worth the cost?
I’m not talking about the actual dollar amount of this holiday season, although that is something to keep an eye on. I’m talking about the physical and emotional toll the pressures of pre-thanksgiving, black Friday and cyber Monday sales put on all of us. The anxiety we feel trying to plan the perfect holiday party. Just think, the sleepless nights trying to game plan. The stress of sticking to your budget. The worry of forgetting someone or something on your ever-growing shopping list. Is our quest for the perfect holiday season worth the cost?
We spend weeks planning our menus, décor and guest list. We spend the entire day cooking and cleaning trying to be the perfect host. By the end of the night, we realize we never stopped to eat or even enjoy the party. By Christmas, we have spent so much time and energy preparing, and shopping and all we have left to show for it are exhaustion, empty pockets or worst yet debt. By the time we head into the new year we are vowing to ourselves to do better next year, but how? How are we going to break these habits?
Making the Choice
This very common phenomenon reminds me of a popular passage of Scripture in which Jesus is at the home of Mary and Martha. The events in Luke 10:38-42 are a good representation of how many of us spend the holiday season and how God wants us to spend the holiday season. Here we find two sisters, one sitting at the feet of Jesus, willingly taking in all the moment has to offer. The other sister, Martha, is busy trying to play the perfect host missing out on such a rare opportunity. As Martha tries to complain about her sister’s lack of help Jesus reminds her of what matters.
“Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42
Martha’s insistence on being the perfect host was about to cost her the opportunity to sit at Jesus’ feet. She almost missed her chance to hear the teachings of God, directly from the Savior’s mouth. As you strive to be the perfect host, perfect cook or perfect gift giver, think about what it will cost you. How much precious time are you missing with your family in the pursuit of perfection? What are you giving up to ensure things are just right? Don’t allow your anxieties to cost you the chance to spend time with your loved ones. Don’t get to the new year and realize you missed the important moments.
As we head into this holiday season, let us try to be more like Mary. Let us let go of the need to be the perfect host or give the best gifts and just enjoy what we have. If you have the opportunity to enjoy the company of friends and family, take it. Don’t waste time on things that do not matter you may miss out on memories. Mary understood the significance of having Jesus in her home and was not about to waste time setting the table. She knew it wasn’t worth the cost.