Marcia was so busy…she couldn’t possibly accomplish everything needed before Christmas! The baking, the shopping, the decorating, the present wrapping, the social engagements, and the family traditions were in addition to her normal responsibilities at work, at home, with the kids and her husband. And there wasn’t anything she could delegate. She felt overwhelmed like Martha from the Bible who had so much to do to feed Jesus, His disciples, and the other guests that expected lunch to just appear out of nowhere.
Why did Jesus rebuke Martha anyway? Someone had to do the chores, No one else had offered to help. Marcia would have cried if Jesus had spoken to her like He had to Martha. He just didn’t understand…or did He?
When Jesus confronted Martha, was he rebuking her harshly? Or was He instructing her about how to prioritize and let God be her Helper? Was He telling her to never do work when He was around, or was He inviting her to a better place…right in front of Him? He understood responsibilities. After all, He cooked for the disciples, made arrangements for gatherings, and spoke to their human needs often. There was a time for a five-loaves-and-two-fishes food distribution and another time to seek the presence like a little child.
So, what would you tell Marcia? What is God expecting from her during the holiday season, especially the preparation weeks before Christmas?
He wants her to draw near.
When Jesus was born, some drew near and some turned away. Virgin Mary drew near to the prophecy the angel gave her. Joseph drew near to the promise in his dream. The shepherds drew near to the manger in the middle of the night, The wise men drew near, even though it took them approximately two years to arrive. Each of these people were not only blessed by the event, but became witnesses for the Messiah. Mary and Joseph were further honored with parental status,
When Jesus began His ministry, He gathered 12 undesirables, three with whom He developed intense relationships. The 3½ years of time with Christ changed His followers forever. Think about Mary, Martha, the Samaritan woman, Mary Magdaline, and others who became part of those who followed Jesus. They were blessed to be in His presence, because most rabbis did not allow women as students. Those women who followed Him contributed their skills and money to keep the ministry afloat.
The presence of God on Earth completely changed everyone who dared to touch it, even after Jesus returned to heaven. Peter, full of the presence, saw people healed by his shadow. Paul, filled with the presence, prayed without ceasing. John saturated in the presence, saw the future of Earth and heaven. Dorcas, Lydia, Tabitha, and other women ministered mightily in the early Church.
How should a contemporary woman practice the presence of God? By prioritizing daily encounters with God. These can overflow to people and change situations around her. The presence will modify her speech, actions, reactions, energy, and health into alignment with His purposes.
Marcia is called to be an example of the presence of God first and foremost. Jesus only did what He saw the Father doing, so she needs to see if the Father is doing her planned tasks. She should submit her organized list to God, expecting the Holy Spirit to give counsel about what she should do or not do, just like Martha should have. That way, Marcia can experience God’s presence all of December.
Marcia wants to build holiday memories for her children, but she must be open to release some traditions replacing them with new experiences that draw her family to God’s presence. She should remember that Jesus promised His yoke was easy, and He gives grace for every task she is supposed to do.
This might seem over simplistic, and it is….because Jesus provides a life much easier than we make it. The real fight that wears us out is when we fail to submit our humanity to His divinity. We can truly experience peace during the busy holiday.
Use these Scriptures to inspire you to seek His presence this season:
- “In your presence is fullness of joy.” (Psalm 16:11)
- “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek You, my soul thirsts for You; my flesh faints for Your presence.” (Psalm 63:1)
I encourage you to read these verses in context, because David often wrote in the midst of stress. And it was said that David was a “man after God’s own heart.” (1 Sam. 13:15) Marcia could become known as a “woman after God’s own heart.” So can you!
Seek the Man who started in the manger this Christmas and be aglow with His presence!