Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The 12 Steps of Christmas

Christmas makes women insane
and as a constantly recovering Martha
I just wish I could gather all Your precious daughters
into one little padded room
hand out the hand-knitted straight jackets
and offer them a week of peace before Your birthday party.
I would read them a book of stories from Luke
the preface containing a desperate plea from You
vying for their attention and offering so much more
than scented candles, 12 step programs, Oprah self-help books,
or rushed bubble baths while their kids repeatedly call
"Mom!" outside the locked door, like broken records
because maybe after a week of listening
like squirming, little girls on carpet squares
the truth might begin to sink in and surround them
like that expensive memory foam they thought would do the trick
but this truth won't leave them restless in the morning.
They can hear it in Mary's song, in the angels announcement,
and especially the night You came to visit two sisters
icons of the little devil and little angel
on the shoulders of every woman
the one complaining, debating, worrying,
hissing discontent in one ear,
while the other kneels and prays with a silent, patient smile
and then POOF
they suddenly get it;
They don't need to survive Christmas;
they need Christmas to survive.
And all it took was 12 steps
out of the kitchen to the feet of Jesus.

"As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"
"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "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 away from her." Luke 10: 38-42

"Christmas makes me stop and ask myself--do I really believe that love can be purchased with a gift? That I can make my family love me or I can make my family get along if I can just get more stuff?" Mark Beeson, "Simple Family" sermon December 13-14, 2008

"If you stop to think about it, it is astounding that the simple, unassuming birth of a peasant boy born two thousand years ago in the Middle East has caused such commotion--his birthday even causes traffic jams in places like New York City, Tokyo, and Rio de Janeiro . . . Preparing for Christmas can be a lot of work, especially for moms. With the pressure of buying gifts, sending greeting cards, decorating our homes, putting up lights, cooking attending parties, and cleaning up afterward, we have little time to actually enjoy the meaning of Christmas . . . God came to earth as Jesus essentially to say: 'You guys have got it all wrong! Of course doing good things matters, but it doesn't make me love you any more or less. My love for you is unlimited, unconditional, unchanging, and undeserved. So let me teach you a new concept called grace. You can't purchase it, work for it, or be good enough to merit it. It's a gift that will cost me a lot, but it is free to you. Everything I do for you, to you , in you, and through you--every single blessing you have in life--is a gift of grace.' Why celebrate Christmas if you're not going to open the best gift of all?" Rick Warren, The Purpose of Christmas


Sherry Ingle said...

Yup, I'll admit it, I AM Martha (that's Martha from the bible not Ms Stewart). Why do I feel like everyone's Christmas joy depends on me? Such a burden...thanks for the reminder to "step out of the kitchen" and enjoy the birthday party.

rhonda owens said...

"And all it took was 12 steps out of the kitchen to the feet of Jesus." Brilliant! Thank you again for your tidbits of wisdom.