Be Present With Those Around You
It’s here: the season when with wild abandon you throw yourself full throttle into the holidays. There are things to do, people to see, places to go, and only a certain amount of time to make things happen. Right?
For the most part, we’ve gotten really good at our to-do lists. We find a way to get the coveted gifts for our family, and we plan our menus for holiday gatherings. We ferociously clean and shop and wrap and eat, and, if we’re honest, we often complain either inwardly or outwardly about all we have done to make the season merry and bright for the ones we love. When that is the case, we look a lot less like Mary and a lot more like Martha.
“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 few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.’” —Luke 10:38-42
Martha was so busy preparing that she missed spending time with Jesus. Often during Christmastime, we miss the main event the season is celebrating—the birth of our Savior—because we’re so caught up in the hustle and bustle around us, too. Many times, these other “things” don’t really matter, but they often cause the most frustration and conflict within our families. How would the season look differently if we took more time to both rest with those around us and at the feet of Jesus?
In reality, the holiday season is full of opportunities for us to really be there for our friends, family, and even strangers—to be present with them. Though it may be tempting to rush through it all and complete our to-do list “perfectly,” Christmas has the potential to create a mind shift.
Remember this holiday to-do list that went viral?
Buy Presents Be Present
Wrap gifts Wrap someone in a hug
Send gifts Send peace
Shop for food Donate food
Make cookies Make love
See the lights Be the light
Perhaps this list reminds us that in spite of how “connected” we say we are, people are desperately longing for the presence of others in their lives. This list serves as a great reminder—opportunity abounds for us to be present with those around us. It’s amazing that the gift we can give to people that means the most doesn’t require us to spend money; it requires us to be active and focused listeners. Perhaps this Christmas, the best present you can give will be to be present.