In the famous story of Martha and Mary, Mary was sitting at the feet of Christ, listening to Him teach, while Martha was in the kitchen, cumbered with much serving. Jesus said that Mary had the better part, but a lot of us are secretly sympathetic with Martha.
As our advent preparations come to a close, this is a good thing for us to remember. There has been shopping, cleaning, inviting, cooking, preparing, wrapping, and more. In all of these things, we need to ask God to make Mary and Martha into one woman.
In order to celebrate the right way, a lot must happen, and it doesn’t just happen by itself. Work is involved, and the work extends beyond the ordinary levels of work. This means that our understanding of the relationship between grace and works will be thrown into higher relief. If that understanding is sound then Christmas will highlight it. If our understanding is in any way warped, this means that the holiday will just accentuate that misunderstanding. This is why many families actually dread the holidays.
But Jesus died and rose, and He has sent His Spirit. We have the opportunity to labor in the kitchen and also to sit out in the living room to listen to the Lord’s conversation.
Excerpt taken from God Rest Ye Merry by Douglas Wilson. (pg. 150)