Peace and quiet.
We all long for it at some point in our crazy days and whirlwind weeks. This time of year, it seems almost unattainable. So much to do, so many people to see.
In our quest for rest, we still manage to cram our schedules to full and overflowing, wondering why the season came and went and we didn’t get to savor any of its essence.
We say we want to experience this elusive peace and quiet, but our bodies and minds continue at a frenetic pace that defies anything close to rest.
And, without a doubt, the most tragic part is that we deny ourselves the ability to sit and talk with the Guest of Honor of the season. The true Giver and Gift.
We say and believe that we do all of these very good things to honor the day of His birth, to remember “the reason for the season”, but our good intentions can get in the way of what we really need and what He really desires for His birthday (and every day, for that matter).
Sometimes we have to be still and “no”.
Remember Jesus’ friends, Mary and Martha? They were the sisters of Lazarus, whom Jesus had just resurrected from the dead. These were women who saw Jesus for who He really was, experienced His power in miraculous ways, and understood His very personal love to their core.
They were thankful beyond words for their Friend and Lord who had given them back their brother. So, it’s no surprise that they wanted to have Him as their Guest of Honor at a celebratory feast. He would be the focus. He would be the very reason for the whole event.
Love spurred the thought. Grateful hearts inspired the generosity.
But when it came right down to the reality of the evening, these two sisters had very different reactions to His presence at the party.
Both loved Jesus. Both wanted to show Him their love and had good intentions.
But only one of them decided to “be still and ‘no’ “.
Martha was fixing all the food, making all the preparations, doing all the cleaning, entertaining all the guests. In essence, she was doing all the work.
When she complained to Jesus about it and asked that He get after Mary for not helping, she got a response that I’m sure she wasn’t expecting.
“Martha, Martha. You are worried and upset about many things. But few things are needed; or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42)
Mary’s focus was on the Guest of Honor. She wasn’t worried about all the details of the party. She was there to honor Jesus in the way that would bless both of them.
Mary figured out what it was to be still and “no”.
No to frenzy. No to unrealistic expectations. No to busyness for busyness’ sake. No to anything that would take her eyes off of Jesus.
This year, I’m experiencing this season like I never have before. With this healing heart, I am learning how to be still and “no”. I have narrowed down my schedule, I have simplified my must-do list. I have turned my back on unnecessary obligations and my own unrealistic expectations of the season.
I am enjoying the presence and the face and the words of the Guest of Honor.
And I am experiencing that peace and quiet of my soul that before this year I always thought was out of my reach.
I hope that Martha heard Jesus’ loving words for what they were. I hope that she heard them as an invitation to come and sit with Him and enjoy all that He was and all that He had to offer her. I hope that at the next gathering she hosted, she kept it simple.
I hope she learned to be still and “no”.
Because when you “no”, you know….
Psalm 46:10 – Be still and know that I am God.