More Mary Less Martha Guest Post
This article is reprinted by permission and referenced in my former post on getting ready for the holidays. I’ve kept this tucked away all these years as a reminder not to get crazy in the holiday season. Jill’s online magazine can be accessed here: Blessed Living Women’s E-Magazine.
More Mary Less Martha
Look at the Holidays
© 1997 Jill Bond
(Reprinted by permission, blwemag.com)
The Stress to Impress — The Pressure to Entertain
Ah! With the holidays here, some of us can feel the pressure to entertain. It’s our turn this year. Oh, and just look at the walls. We have to paint. And that sofa! My! My! Maybe a new throw. OR there are those advertisements for no payments until ’98. After all we’ve had that same sofa for years and it is a sale. Oh, and I’ve been wanting new drapes for years . . . why not.
Let’s see. And what shall I serve? I could really impress them when they ask what they can bring? I’ll say, “I have it all under control” and “Just bring themselves.” I could make those pastry puffs in the shape of swans and fill them with creamery pudding feathers. Oh, but what about my dishes. I’ll just have to rip out the old plastic genie and order a full service for 20 of those holiday plates. I’ll worry about where to store them later. Oh, and back to the menu . . .
Oh, and my hair. Look at all this gray. I have to do something about it. And I’ve had this same style last year when they saw me. Well, as long as I’m getting my hair a complete makeover I might as well do the facial, peel, and wax. Oh, and everyone’s seen my holiday dresses. We have the company dance, the church banquet, and then the family for dinner. Let’s see I’ll need a new sequined dress for the ball, a “modest” crepe and lace dress for the banquet, and one of those plaid full skirts with the black velvet blouse for the family dinner.
Oh, my! And gifts. I wonder if we can get a higher credit limit on that plastic . . .
The Presence for Hospitality
Ah! Such a wonderful time to celebrate and give all the credit to our Savior. Thanking Him for His miracles in the early life of our country and seeking His mercy for today. Learning about our adoptive Jewish heritage with Hanukah. Celebrating that God Himself came to earth and indwelt a human body.
Let’s see, first I need to clean house. I’ve been harboring some unforgiveness and I don’t want that dirtying-up my praise. Lord, I’ve been rebellious about appreciating your provision. Ah, these walls have so many smudges. Thank you Lord for filling my house with beautiful children instead of things. Please forgive me for coveting that new sofa in the newspaper flyer. My couch is fine and lovely and full of memories. Lord, I don’t need drapes. They cost so much and then I’d have to clean them and they’d collect so much dust. My blinds are wonderful and so much healthier. And all the light they let in. . . .
Lord, fill my home with your Presence so that when the family comes, they see You and not me. Give me wisdom to know what I can do and seek help for what I can’t. Please don’t let me be too proud to ask for help. Feeding all of them would kill our budget, and I know they wouldn’t mind bringing a sweet potato casserole, or a pie, or . . . Let’s see, if we use the china, the day dishes, and those plastic plates, I’ll have just enough so I won’t have to buy paper plates. But we will have to ask Uncle Bill to bring his set of folding chairs . . .
Lord, thank you for every gray hair. Your word says that they are a gift from you. How silly the world is about that, worshipping immature youth over wisdom that comes from years of Your molding. I have so many clothes and there are so many who don’t. Why don’t I go through my clothes and give some of those clothes away? I have friends who might use my dresses to wear to those functions this year. Why not swap out . . .
Lord, I don’t want to go into debt this year buying things for other people to store, dust, unload a year later at a yard sale, and spend so much money on postage. Do you think they would like a bouquet of fresh flowers? Or a donation in their name to a mission? Or a promise of a weekly letter from one of the children? Or . . . .
Remember satan hates our joyous worship and praise of God. He will try to steal that joy from you and rob you of the sweet fellowship any way he can. He might tempt you to do too much, to run with the world, to get so caught up in the season that you miss it entirely. Slow down. Don’t go to every Dickens’s Day at the Park, every parade, every concert, and every special appearance at the mall. Just schedule less than a hand-full of their activities (and be very choosy about those). Plan a time of family and a few close friends. Don’t try to impress the whole church, the whole office, or the whole world. Don’t try to impress at all.
Just rest in God and let His PRESENCE fill your home.
Burnout only happens to fleshly pursuits. God would never cause burnout or fatigue. His burden is easy and a joyous task. If He is not telling you to do it: don’t!
We (the Bonds) are trying to get there. Each year we discover more and more joyous time. God gently and so patiently reveals to us where we’ve gone astray. Each year we try to be faithful with what He has shown us. And each year somehow while unpacking something from the “X-boxes” (We label everything) we’ll find something with a red-velvet suited guy that we have to toss. Those worldly symbols sneak in on placemats, wrapping paper, and straws, and as we notice them, we get them out of our home. For us the heart-felt desire to be wholly focused on God manifests itself as a metaphor. We don’t want any elves, reindeer, santas, or any reminder of the contrast between His Majesty and Man’s Forgeries.
Jill goes on to “encourage you to take at least one step this holiday away from the world’s way of rush, bother, and hassle, toward peace, joy, and sweet fellowship” then lists three items, which sadly, the links are no longer valid. But I can give you three items that show the heart of what she listed:
- Read some hilarious article on homemaking. Erma Bombeck was the humor of my mom’s day. Patsy Clairmont was my humorist when my daughter was little. A couple weeks ago I was listening to humorous outtakes of Jesse Duplantis’s ministry sessions. Some of those stories still cause tears to roll down my eyes as I laugh. Read or listen to something that will make you laugh!!
- Find a quiet game to keep your kids focused while you work.
- Take time to make a favorite recipe your family really enjoys. We live with our families all year. It’s important to spend time strengthening those relationships.
Thank you for the article, Jill. As I said, I’ve kept it in mind and on my computer all these years. I hope it encouraged all of you as much as it encouraged me.
Have a blessed week…