In this week before Christmas, I would like to tell a tale of two women; both were called Mary and both of them knew Jesus well. Mary his mother and Mary from Bethany. They had a different life and probably also a different personality, but apart from their name they had at least one thing in common: they were attentive!
Preparing for Christmas
It is winter time here in the Netherlands and just one more week to go before it is Christmas. Choirs are practicing their Christmas concerts, Sunday schools are preparing for their special programs. The grey days are lightened up with burning candles and decorated living rooms. The shops in our village have put up Christmas lights. You see Christmas trees for sale in the streets and here and there a smiling big Santa on his sleigh. There is music everywhere. Whether you believe in the True Reason for the season or not, Christmas has become a festival, with family and friends coming together. Everybody doing his utmost to think of the perfect dinner, the perfect gifts to give and wearing the perfect clothes to match this joyous celebration. Just a few more days and by the end of this week, you will see super stressed people with long shopping lists buying groceries in a cramped grocery store… pushing their loaded shopping cart to the car and back.
Hard to focus
Don’t get me wrong, I do love being together with family and friends, I do love to celebrate and have a nice meal together, no offense to anyone, but I do not like the frantic business and the glitter and glamour you see in this time of the year. Personally, I find it hard to focus, to become still and reflect on the Greatest Gift of all: Our Lord, who was born in a manger!
No glitter and glamour here
No glitter and glamour here, no snow-covered romantic manger in English cottage style, fit for a Christmas card, just a dirty coverage of some sort in Bethlehem where a very tired young woman gave birth to the Son of Man. But she heard the wondrous account of the shepherds about angel choirs singing Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests. No doubt she looked at her baby, hardly able to comprehend what would be the scope of His life. The Bible states:
But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart (Luke 2:19).
Days later, when Jesus was presented in the Temple, she heard the prophecies spoken out by Simeon and Anna about the coming of the Messiah. She had so much to take in. Was she able to grasp it all? I don’t think she could. She needed to listen and become still before God to be able to understand. Listening stillness.
Mary of Bethany
And another woman, Mary of Bethany did the same. Luke 10 tells us that Martha had opened up her home to Jesus. I assume she was the oldest and the host when Jesus came to visit his friends Lazarus, Martha, and Mary. Martha felt responsible for their guest and was busy with many things.
Luke 10:39 says: Mary sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what He said.
Again we see that it is important to become still before God to be able to understand. Listening stillness. In that same chapter, Jesus emphasizes:
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.
It was Mary of Bethany who understood later on that Jesus told them He was about to die. We read this in John 11:1
This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.
Let’s sit for a while
I am convinced that understanding comes forth out of listening stillness. We need time to sit at the feet of Jesus to become still. So yeah, this blog is called SHE RISES and rightly so. It is a wonderful name for this blog, but can I suggest something, dear sisters? In this festive and busy season… Let’s sit for a while… sit at His feet in listening stillness. To hear from Him. Let’s plan an empty spot in our busy schedule, to become still and know afresh: He is God! It is about Him in the first place. Out of this listening stillness, no heavy Bible study but a quiet time of thankfulness and worship, a time of hearing Him, a time to just be with Him. Let’s give Him all the glory for all He has done. Bless Him and you’ll be blessed.