Jack, Marley, Martha, & Mary

Last week during lunch, Jana and I were discussing our holiday travel plans.  The conversation was centered on cost, travel schedule, and the overall inconvenience of bouncing around the US during Christmas.  About halfway through the conversation Marley said, “plane, plane, me, me”.  Jana told Marley that “yes”; we were flying on a plane in the next few weeks to visit family for Christmas.  The remainder of the day involved Marley reminding us that she was going to be flying on a plane and we were going home for Christmas.

For the past week, every time Marley has seen a plane in the sky she has started yelling “plane, plane, me, me”.  Regardless of what she is doing, she stops and her excitement spills over at the thought of flying home for Christmas.  Of course every time she yells “plane”, I think about BKK to SFO to LAS to DFW to OKC to CLT to GSO to EWR to SFO to BKK in three weeks.  (Amazing how these acronyms are a constant in my life now) But, Marley does not care about the cost, travel, or the headache of sleeping in various houses.  She only cares about flying home to see Pappy, Grammy, Ma Ma, Ray Ray, RF, and numerous other people she loves.  Last week as I was sharing at church about the Christmas story, I realized I was already embracing the Christmas holidays with a Martha approach.

38 As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39 Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. 40 But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.” 41 But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! 42 There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Things have to get done.  There are always certain details in life that must be prepared before something can be accomplished.  I do not believe Jesus is telling us to completely ignore those preparations.  The main point I see Him making is to take time for what is important.  Every year during the holidays, I become obsessed with my “to do” list.  Is everything in place, is the schedule set, do we have enough money, which parties are we attending, and we must remember to read the Christmas story on Christmas Eve.  Even the religious rituals I honor at Christmas are more about attending the event, instead of focusing on the one thing worth our attention.

We love living in Bangkok, but there is always something special about spending the holidays in the States with family.  This Christmas break I am going to try and take the Marley approach.  Instead of worrying about the holiday schedule, cost, or headaches, I am going to focus on spending time with my family, loving my wife and child, and truly taking time to reflect on the birth of Christ.  When flights are delayed, schedules are thrown off, and we spend too much money; I am going to stop and enjoy the moment.  Life will always move forward with needed preparations, but for this season in my life, I am going to peacefully sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to Him.

Prayer – Please pray for travel and willingness to enjoy the holidays with family and friends.