"I'm no Martha," we say, "but look what I made!" Or, if we really want to compliment someone, we'll exclaim, "You're a regular Martha!" or "Martha would be proud!"
Surely Martha Stewart is to be congratulated for inspiring and empowering women to embrace the domestic arts. Thousands upon thousands of us look to her for ideas and inspiration.
In the midst of all my efforts as a wannabe Martha, though, I was reminded of another Martha--the Martha who must certainly have been a homemaker par excellence, and a wonderful, faithful woman into the bargain. Martha of Bethany, friend of Jesus, busied herself and bustled around to make her home welcoming to Jesus. What a great woman! Her sister Mary, on the other hand, seems to have languished a bit when it came to homemaking, preferring to sit and listen to Jesus talk and leave the lion's share of the work to Martha.
Truth be told, I've always felt a lot of sympathy for Martha.
And I think Jesus probably felt a good bit of sympathy for Martha, too. Martha must have felt awfully comfortable with Jesus to be able to voice her concerns to him. Luke 10 tells us that Martha said, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work all by myself? Tell her to help me!"
She was right, wasn't she? There was work to be done. Jesus needed a meal, and that meal wasn't going to prepare itself. Many hands make light work, Mary. Chop chop.
Jesus's answer is very tender, but it gets right to the root of the problem. "Martha, Martha," he says, "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 from her."
Quite frankly, I want to be a Martha. I want to have cool projects to blog about. I want people to ooh and ahh over my creations.
Let's be honest: Mary doesn't produce page views. She doesn't get retweeted. Her hanging out with Jesus doesn't produce pictures that will be pinned to Pinterest.
Yet Mary is the one who has chosen the better part. Even at a busy time, she chooses to spend time with Jesus, and the Lord of Lords says that she has her priorities straight.
And so, this Christmas season, while I really want to be a Martha, I'm going to try to be more of a Mary. Maybe, just maybe, I need a little less Christmas--
and a little more Christ.
I'm grateful to be called back to what's important by sharing Tuesdays Unwrapped with Emily at Chatting at the Sky. And I'm joyfully joining Amanda at Serenity Now for Weekend Bloggy Reading.